Defense Minister Barak: We Can't Defend Yad Yair Synagogue

Defense Minister Ehud Barak says Israel cannot defend a synagogue in Samaria. The solution, he said, is to move it.

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Hana Levi Julian,

Flames consumed the synagogue in October
Flames consumed the synagogue in October

Defense Minister Ehud Barak informed MK Rabbi Meir Porush (UTJ) in a letter Wednesday that the Israel Defense Forces cannot protect the Yad Yair synagogue in Samaria.

Barak recommended that the synagogue be moved instead.

"The congregation which prays at Yad Yair Synagogue in the Binyamin area faces security risks and it is hard to secure it in a permanent and continuous manner," wrote Barak. "Therefore, the IDF recommends relocating the synagogue to the Talmonim Bloc, thus preventing a situation in which human lives are put at risk."

Built more than ten years ago, the Jewish house of worship is located near the Binyamin region community of Dolev, northwest of Ramallah, in Samaria.

Barak's letter was written following a demand by Porush for an explanation regarding an attack in October on the synagogue. Torah scrolls, prayer books and other Jewish sacred texts were destroyed in the flames.

The arsonists also defaced the nearby memorial to Yair Mendelson, for whom the synagogue is named. Mendelson was murdered by Arabs at the beginning of the first intifada in the 1980's.

The attack in October was the third in 18 months. Both the synagogue and an adjoining building are located on privately-owned Jewish land.