Daily Israel Report

High Court Stops Mosque Construction Near Beit El

In a motion filed by Regavim, High Court orders to stop the building of a mosque in Jelazoun.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 9/16/2010, 6:16 PM / Last Update: 9/16/2010, 6:54 PM

Ovad Arad, Regavim

The High Court issued an immediate stop work order Thursday against builders of a mosque at Jelazoun near Beit El.

The order was issued in response to a motion filed by Regavim, an NGO that specializes in fighting illegal Arab construction. The motion was originally filed as what Regavim calls a “mirror motion” following the state's destruction of a synagogue at El Matan. A “mirror motion” is one that is filed against an Arab building after a nearby Jewish building is razed or slated for demolition, forcing the state to take similar action against the Arab building or to try and explain why it only enforces the law against Jews.

Regavim's original motion pertained to two structures: besides the mosque at Jelazoun, it also named a second illegal mosque at Bura, near Yitzhar.

However, the Court initially rejected the motion because Regavim was not able to identify who the respondents were: that is, it could not supply the names of the people or authorities responsible for building the mosques. The fact that the construction was being carried out on state lands, without zoning plans and construction permits, was not enough for the Court to order a halt to the construction.

This Sunday, however, Regavim was finally able to find out the names of the people building the Jelazoun mosque, and they re-submitted the request. The High Court was satisfied and issued an order for temporary cessation of construction until further notice, without waiting for the respondents to reply.  

The Court gave the state seven days to tell it what it was doing to stop the construction.

Heartened by the success, Regavim is now doing its utmost to find out the names of the people behind the mosque near Yitzhar as well.