The Court accepted an appeal by Church member Yusuf Naman of Kafr Samia, who claimed and brought evidence that the pre-election process was illegal.
"The process by which Irineos was 'elected' (the quotation marks are in the origina) was illegal," the judge wrote, adding that Irineos "won"
[quotation marks in the original] in an illegal manner. The ju! dge therefore ruled that Irineos' substitute, Bishop Corolineus, must hold new elections for the position of Patriarch.
The ruling also stipulated that Irineos and the Church must pay court costs of 2,000 shekels.
It is assumed that Irineos' counsel, Atty. Gilad Sher, will appeal the ruling in the Supreme Court.
Journalist Cohen has reported in the past on evidence purportedly showing that Prime Minister Sharon advanced Irineos' appointment as Patriarch - an appointment that requires Israeli government approval. Sharon's interest was allegedly to have Irineos approve the sale of a Greek island for the purpose of the construction of a spectacular resort that was to earn Sharon's son Gilad millions of dollars.
The head of the Jerusalem Orthodox Church, considered the richest in Israel, is responsible for the church's extensive land holdings. These include the land on which the Knesset was built, the Prime Minister's and the President's official residences, parts of Jerusalem's wealthiest neighborhoods, and locations in the Old City and in the new Jerusalem
neighborhood of Har Homa.