(photo credit: Od Yosef Chai)
The Od Yosef Chai yeshiva said Monday it plans to appeal the demolition order which the IDF issued Sunday against its large stone building located in the Yitzhar settlement in Samaria.
According to the spokesman for the IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) the yeshiva has a week to appeal the order which it issued on Sunday. It charged that the 1,300 square meter stone structure was constructed without a permit outside the authorized zoning area for this type of construction.
The yeshiva was built in an area of the settlement designated for agriculture, said the administration. It added that a demolition order was first issued against the structure when work was first started on the building in 1999.
But MK Arye Eldad (National Union) charged that the move was part of a “vendetta” that the Defense Ministry has been waging against the settlement and the yeshiva because it suspects that some of their members have executed a “price tag” reprisal policy against area Palestinians, including torching a mosque last winter in the Palestinian village of Kafr Yassuf.
At the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday, Eldad asked Defense Minister Ehud Barak about the demolition order against a structure on which work was first started when Barak was prime minister and which was completed over a year ago.
Barak’s response, said Eldad, was to speak about the damage caused by those settlers who engage in acts of retribution against Palestinians, but he did not explicitly link the demolition order with the Defense Ministry’s actions against those perpetrators.
Eldad said he warned Barak that demolition of the building could “lead to bloodshed” and accused him of playing politics with people’s lives.
But the yeshiva treasurer Itamar Posner said that his institution had focused its energies on legal measures to prevent any demolition of the structure.
He explained that the building was within an appropriately zoned area of the settlement and had all the necessary permits except for a final authorization from the Defense Ministry.
But he noted that the ministries of Construction and Housing as well as Transportation had invested heavily in the project. They would not have done so if it was illegal, he reasoned.
Posner added no one at the yeshiva has any record of a demolition order from 1999. Nor had they heard anything about it in past years.
To highlight the absurdity of the IDF claim, the yeshiva is weighing whether to post documents on its Web site showing the involvement of both the Construction and Housing Ministry as well as the Transportation Ministry in the project.
Already posted on the site is a notice about a solidarity event this Sunday at the yeshiva in which parliamentarians and public figures will speak in support of the institution.
The yeshiva also posted a response stating that the demolition order
was “the latest in a series of harassment measures by the authorities
who have made a special effort to harm the yeshiva in a biased and
vindictive manner.” It said that the legal status of the yeshiva was
stronger than many other structures in Judea and Samaria.
The yeshiva warned that it believed the threat of demolition was an
attempt “to isolate us and mark us as the first to be included in a
It added that it hopes this threat would fade as did an earlier attempt
by the authorities this winter to link the yeshiva head, Rabbi Yitzhak
Shapira, with the arson attack on the Kafr Yassuf mosque. A Jerusalem
District Court judge forced the police to release Shapira for lack of
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