The West Bank Settlement of Givat Ze'ev.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday night agreed to appeal to the High Court of Justice to delay, for one last time, the demolition of the Ayelet HaShachar in the Givat Ze’ev settlement to allow for the structure to be relocated to a nearby plot of land.
The High Court of Justice had ordered the synagogue to be demolished by November 18th, after it was discovered that documents with regard to the purchase of the property from its Palestinian owners had been forged.
The community of worshipers who have used the synagogue for the last two decades were not involved in the purchase of the property and have spent the last year fighting to save the synagogue.
Netanyahu held a number of consultations in his office on Sunday, including with Education Minister Naftali Bennett who heads the Bayit Yehudi party, Minister of the Development of the Negev and Galilee and Periphery Aryeh Deri who heads the Shas party and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.
Late at night, after further meetings that included Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud), Netanyahu decided to act on a proposal by Deri to relocate the synagogue. If the structure cannot be moved, than much of the interior would be relocated.
The High Court of Justice, must approve the deal, for it to go into effect. The justices have already accepted a number of delay since the initial High Court ruling to raze the synagogue last summer. First the demolition deadline was delayed
because of the High Holiday season. Then it was put off again so as not to divert the attention security forces who were combating a wave of Palestinian terror that began on October 1. The High Court of Justice granted an addition extension after police said they feared right-wing extremists would respond to the demolition by executing “price-tag” attacks of revenge against innocent Palestinians, thereby further inflaming the already existing violence.
The battle over the small one-story stone synagogue began seven years ago the nongovernmental group Yesh Din petitioned the court against the synagogue after it was discovered that documents relating to the purchase of its property from Palestinian land owners were forged.
In 2014, a court ordered the synagogue destroyed.
Located just outside of Jerusalem, Givat Ze’ev has a population of almost 15,000 and is the fifth-largest West Bank settlement.