PM: Don’t raze Givat Ze’ev synagogue until after Succot

Court ordered to destroy settlers’ building last year. Congregation has stopped using structure indefinitely.

Gavel [Illustrative] (photo credit: INIMAGE)
Gavel [Illustrative]
(photo credit: INIMAGE)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked the High Court of Justice not to issue any ruling that would force the state to demolish the Ayelet HaShachar synagogue in the Givat Ze’ev settlement before the end of the High Holy Days period in October.
The court initially ordered the synagogue to be razed last year after it was discovered that documents relating to the purchase of the synagogue property from the Palestinian owners of the land were forged.
The synagogue has since appealed that ruling and asked that the court hold off on enforcing the demolition of the structure until after all appeals with regard to the legal status of the property have been exhausted.
In the interim, the congregation removed all its belongings from the structure earlier this month and has stopped using the building until the legal issues are resolved.
The state on Wednesday, however, said it believed the High Court planned to insist that the Civil Administration for Judea and Samaria must enforce the initial demolition ruling from last year.
At the request of Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, the state has asked that, due to the emotions involved in razing a synagogue, the court allow the state to hold off on enforcing the razing of the structure until mid-October, a week after the end of Succot.
The NGO Yesh Din, which petitioned the court against the synagogue on behalf of the Palestinian landowners, asked the court not to delay the demolition.
Its attorney Shlomi Zachary said in a written response to the court that the issue was not a legal one, but rather an attempt by the Ayelet HaShachar community was simply looking to delay the process in hopes of preventing the demolition of the structure.
The property itself, he said, was purchased by Amana, which is the construction arm of the settlement movement. The synagogue does not hold the title to the land and, therefore, cannot legally contest any decisions that are made regarding the land ownership.