State seeks another delay in demolition of West Bank synagogue
search

State seeks another delay in demolition of West Bank synagogue

Fearing violent backlash, prosecutors submit request to the High Court for extension on its ruling to raze the shul

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Right wing activists seen at the Ayelet Hashahar synagogue in the West Bank settlement of Givat Ze'ev, sit in front of signs reading "Stop the discrimination of the High Court," on November 16, 2015. (Lior Mizrahi/Flash90)
Right wing activists seen at the Ayelet Hashahar synagogue in the West Bank settlement of Givat Ze'ev, sit in front of signs reading "Stop the discrimination of the High Court," on November 16, 2015. (Lior Mizrahi/Flash90)

The state prosecutor on Monday asked the High Court of Justice to again delay the razing of a synagogue in the West Bank settlement of Givat Ze’ev that it previously determined was illegally built on private Palestinian land and ordered demolished.

The request said a three-week extension was warranted due to the potential for violent backlash by far-right activists who oppose the demolition of the Ayelet Hashahar synagogue, the Ynet news site reported.

“The prime minister and defense minister have received intelligence from security sources which point to significant concerns following the evacuation of the synagogue without an agreement,” the request said, according to Ynet news site.

The report also said the Palestinian owner of the land in question requested a response to the court petition by Tuesday.

The court’s July ruling was met with waves of opposition. Protesters barricaded themselves in the house of worship, threatening to harm themselves and security forces, and saying they were prepared to fight troops and even use weapons to stop the demolition.

Activists standing on a rooftop at the Ayelet Hashahar synagogue in the West Bank settlement of Givat Ze'ev, north of Jerusalem, November 4, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Activists standing on a rooftop at the Ayelet Hashahar synagogue in the West Bank settlement of Givat Ze’ev, north of Jerusalem, November 4, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Amid the threats of violence, police earlier this month — for the second time — asked the Supreme Court to postpone the demolition. The court granted the extension and ruled that the structure must be demolished no later than November 17.

The demolition was originally slated for August but was postponed until November 4 due to a last-minute appeal by the government to delay the demolition until after the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

In a new effort aimed at relieving some of the contention surrounding the structure, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, along with religious cabinet ministers, agreed on Sunday to build a replacement house of worship nearby. However, some protesters — including the synagogue’s rabbi — have vowed to continue fighting against the demolition order.

In 2014, following a seven-year legal battle, the court ruled that the synagogue was built on privately owned Palestinian land and must be demolished.

The petition against the synagogue was originally brought by the Yesh Din NGO, which claimed the documents relating to the purchase of the property were forged. Attorneys for the settlement provided the court with documentation they said proved the lawful purchase, but forensic analysis proved those papers to have been falsified.

Supreme Court Justice Miriam Noar, who ruled the synagogue be demolished, was granted additional security following a security assessment by the Shin Bet security service last week.

Raoul Wootliff and Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

read more:
less
comments
more