Setrag Balian & Hagop Djernazian - Jerusalem Patriarchate and Armenian Quarters Under Threat by Israeli Investors and Armed Settlers | Ep. 292 - Nov 9, 2023 [EP292]

Posted on Thursday, Nov 9, 2023 | Category: Diaspora, Israel, Jerusalem | Series: cog

Setrag Balian & Hagop Djernazian - Jerusalem Patriarchate and Armenian Quarters under Threat by Israeli Investors and Armed Settlers



  • Violent Events following Patriarch’s Letter of Cancellation of Lease Agreement on November 1
  • Further Issues on November 9
  • Are the Lease Agreement and its Cancellation Legal?
  • What do Israeli Settlers have to do with the Lease Deal?
  • What Next?

Episode 292 | Recorded on Wednesday, November 9 2023

Show Notes

Hagop and Setrag are organizers of the Save the ArQ movement, set up for the defense of the Armenian Quarters of Jerusalem.

Background: A Troubled Lease

In our Podcast Episode 261 we discussed the contract with which the Jerusalem Patriarchate reportedly granted a 98-year lease for Goveroo Bardez (Cow’s Garden), a considerable amount of space in the Armenian Quarters in Jerusalem, to an Israeli company that is allegedly going to build a hotel there. The company is Xana Gardens Ltd.

Armenian Quarter in Jerusalem under Threat

Last week Patriarch Manoogian publicly rescinded the lease agreement. He published the Patriarchate’s letter to Xana Gardens that the lease deal was no longer going forward. The next day, Danny Rothman, the owner of Xana Gardens Ltd, the leasing company, showed up with over a dozen armed Israeli settlers, and bulldozers. Events peaked on November 5.


  • Hagop and Setrag, I understand both of you were on site and prevented these people from demolishing Goverou Bardez. Tell us what happened.
  • At this moment, it seems like the settlers have left the scene. Can you tell us how the Armenian community is feeling in the aftermath of the threats?
    • Note: the Xana owners and settlers threatened the Armenians that “they would get them all, one by one.”
  • Are people feeling safe?
  • Is there support from the Israeli police or other security agencies?

There were initially some reports that nobody had seen the Patriarch’s letter to Xana Gardens. But many media outlets printed it, The letter is dated November 1, 2023.


  • As far as I can tell, the letter was an important step in the life of the lease, but it’s going to be up to Israeli courts to decide the legality of it. Have you consulted your lawyers, and what is the take on the validity of this lease agreement, and the cancellation?

Maps of the Armenian Quarter in Jerusalem

The following map was provided by Hagop Djernazian.

Map of Jerusalem

Map of Jerusalem

We provide additional maps in our Podcast Episode 261 show notes.


Here are articles from Groong on this topic:


That concludes this Conversations On Groong episode**. **As always we invite your feedback, Thanks to Laura Osborn for the music on our podcasts. Don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.


Setrag Balian

Setrag Balian

Setrag Balian is a Jerusalemite Armenian activist and co-founder of the Save The ArQ movement.

Hagop Djernazian

Hagop Djernazian

Hagop Djernazian is an activist and co-founder of the Save The ArQ movement. He lives in Jerusalem and studies International relations and middle east studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


Asbed Bedrossian

Asbed Bedrossian

Asbed is founder of the Armenian News Network Groong and co-founder of the ANN/Groong podcast.

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