Daily Israel Report

State Wants to Seal El-Matan Shul But Legalize It Too

Decision is the first time that a leftist motion leads to legalization of Jewish building in Judea and Samaria.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 11/4/2010, 5:17 PM

Yoni Kempinski

The State Attorney's Office informed the High Court Thursday that the synagogue that was built in the outpost of El-Matan in Samaria will be sealed, with the agreement of the residents.

 
The state said that the Samaria local authority has agreed to the sealing of the synagogue, and that the state will simultaneously advance the approval of formal plans for construction of a synagogue in the same location.
 
Observers said that this would be the first time that a zoning plan for Jewish building was set in motion by a left-wing-initiated court motion. 
 
One month ago, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu instructed Defense Minister Ehud Barak not to seal the synagogue at El-Matan for the time being, a High Court verdict notwithstanding.
 
This decision was taken because of extreme tension on the ground regarding plans to seal the synagogue, and concern that such a step would trigger collisions between Jewish activists and security forces.
 
Benny Katzover, chairman of the grassroots Samaria Residents' Council attacked on Thursday the State Attorney's decision to seal the synagogue and expressed hope that plans for the synagogue will be approved soon.
 
Katzover expressed the Council's “sorrow and disappointment” over the state's insistence on sealing the synagogue. “We await with bated breath the fulfillment of the commitment to approve legal processes so that formal approval of construction can be issued within 45 days.”