Court weighs rejecting El Matan synagogue petition

State to High Court: Allow sealing of illegally built West Bank synagogue; petitioner wants same hearing as Palestinian mosque-builders.

El Matan synagogue 311 (photo credit: Gur Dotan)
El Matan synagogue 311
(photo credit: Gur Dotan)
The state urged the High Court of Justice on Tuesday to reject a petition asking it to issue an interim injunction preventing the Civil Administration in the West Bank from sealing an illegally built structure serving as a synagogue in the Jewish outpost of El Matan.
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The petitioner, Yoel Bloch, argued that since the civil administration had offered a hearing to Palestinians who built a mosque without permission, it should do the same for the settlers who built the synagogue.
The state maintained that the two situations were different and it was unlikely that the court would accept the petition and order the state to grant a hearing to the settlers.
Therefore, there was no reason to grant the interim injunction. Furthermore, the Ministry of Defense had promised that it would seal the building in such a way that it could be unsealed if the court eventually ordered the state to do so.
In May 2009, the group Yesh Din filed a petition with the High Court of Justice to halt construction of the synagogue, which it stated lacked the proper permits.
Settlers acknowledge that the synagogue is not permitted, but have argued that is it constructed according to area zoning regulations and that only politics has prevented its authorization.
Tovah Lazaroff and Yaakov Lappin contributed to this story.