Court to Gov't: Why Destroy Beit El Buildings?
A three-judge Supreme Court panel has ordered the State to explain within 30 days why it wants to destroy ten buildings in Beit El that the government itself helped pay for.
The buildings – five permanent buildings with several apartments each and five other mobile structures – were built or placed by the Kiryat HaYeshiva Beit El company. Attorney Yaron Kustlitz presented documentation showing that the land on which the buildings stand was duly purchased from its original Arab owner.
The buildings are located in Beit El, on the lower heights of Pisgat Yaakov, also known as Jabal (Mt.) Artis, which overlooks the rest of Beit El to the south and west.
Attorney Kustlitz accused the State of speaking out of two sides of its mouth, a “legally problematic position.” He said that on the one hand, the Housing Ministry began infrastructure work for the buildings in 2000, and the buildings were completed and populated in 2005 – and then the government turned around and asked for demolition orders.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Dorit Beinisch, who heads the judicial panel, agreed with Kustlitz that the government may not take both sides. “This must be taken care of,” she said.
Mt. Artis is the spot on which the Patriarch Jacob dreamt his famous dream of angels ascending and descending the ladder to Heaven – at least according to the late Land of Israel expert and researcher Prof. Ze’ev Vilnai. Vilnai based his conclusion on the sanctity ascribed to the site by local Moslems, who in turn based their attitude on a well-rooted Jewish tradition. In this vein, many Jewish burial caves from the Second Temple were found there.
In addition, from Mt. Artis one can often see the coastal plain in the west, Mt. Gilad in the east, Mt. Hermon in the north, and the mountains of Jerusalem and Hevron in the south - in keeping with the Divine message to Jacob at that spot, as recorded in Genesis 28, that his descendants would inherit the entire Land, “west, east, north and south.”