High Court Upholds Synagogue Demolition Orders

Justices also hurl accusations at the Givat Ze'ev Local Council rabbi who appealed for synagogue to be saved.

Shlomo Pitrikovsky,

Ayelet Hashahar Synagogue in Givat Ze'ev
Ayelet Hashahar Synagogue in Givat Ze'ev
Eliran Aharon

High Court for Justice President Miriam Naor, and Justices Hanan Meltzer and Uzi Fogelman rejected outright Monday the petition of the Rabbi of the Givat Ze'ev Local Council, Rabbi YosefToledano, who wanted to prevent the destruction of the Ayelet Hashahar synagogue. 

In his petition, Rabbi Toledano asked the court to grant the synagogue protection provided by international law to holy places, but the judges rejected the petition of the rabbi, and stated that the destruction of the synagogue will take place as planned.

"Customary international law and the agreements do not validate what the petitioner claims that he, in a situation where, in occupied territory, located in the building of the synagogue - on private property without the knowledge of the owner of the land," the justices ruled. 

The judges also hurled at Rabbi Toledano serious allegations, claiming, inter alia, that the petition was filed using the wrong procedure and that he concealed from the court the fact that a number of weeks after holy books and objects were removed from the synagogue in preparation for its destruction, congregants returned them and used the structure for prayer. 

The justices did extend the demolition date by an extra week, however, as it had been slated for demolition on Thursday. 

Meltzer attempted to give the State of Israel an extra means of saving the structure, noting that the timeline could be too close, but his colleagues rejected his attempts to extend the grace period further. 

The Ayelet HaShachar synagogue, which has been in use for over 20 years, was slated to be demolished after a far-left group filed a petition with the Court, claiming that the structure had been build on privately-owned Palestinian Arab land.

The petition had been working its way through the courts for at least three years. Members of the congregation have offered the land's alleged owners a high price for the purchase or rental of the land, but they, and their lawyers, have insisted that the synagogue be torn down. 

Public officials have rallied behind the synagogue and called to save it, stating that sends the wrong message to Israelis over the character of the Jewish state. 




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