High Court rejects El Matan synagogue petition

Petition sought to prevent Civil Administration from sealing up the illegally built synagogue in West Bank settlement.

El Matan synagogue 311 (photo credit: Gur Dotan)
El Matan synagogue 311
(photo credit: Gur Dotan)
High Court Justice Hanan Meltzer on Wednesday rejected a request by a petitioner to issue an interim injunction prohibiting the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria from sealing up an illegally built synagogue in the outpost of El Matan.
The request for the interim injunction was made by Yoel Bloch, who petitioned the High Court of Justice asking it to order the state to grant a hearing to the settlers before deciding whether or not to seal the building. Bloch argued that the settlers should be given a hearing just as Palestinians had been granted a hearing before the civil administration decided to demolish an illegally built mosque.
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 Earlier in the day the state urged the court to reject Bloch's request, maintaining that the situations of the synagogue and the mosque were different and it was unlikely the court would accept the petition and order the state to grant a hearing to the settlers before sealing up the synagogue. Therefore, it said, 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, the state added.
The fight over the synagogue began last year, when the village mukhtars of Dir Isti and Thaulath, represented by the Yesh Din human rights organization, petitioned the High Court to order the state to carry out stop-work orders issued against the structure, which was built on land that lacked a detailed plan and therefore could not get a building permit.
At the request of the petitioners, the court issued an interim injunction banning further work on the building. On June 7, the state informed the court that the settlers were continuing to build. As a result, it promised to seal the building "in the next few days." The court gave the state 60 days to carry out its promise.
A few days later, the Samaria Settlers' Committee petitioned the court against the decision to seal up the synagogue. The court rejected the petition and reiterated its earlier ruling, based on the state's promise that the synagogue should be sealed up within 60 days. So far, the building has not been sealed.
Bloch's petition is another attempt to prevent that from happening.