Rabbi exposes Ya'alon's 'libel' against synagogue

Watch: Rabbi of study hall at synagogue slated for demolition shows Arutz Sheva Ya'alon's claims of 'greedy guest house' is a lie.

Eliran Aharon,

Rabbi Hagai Mazor
Rabbi Hagai Mazor
Eliran Aharon

Rabbi Hagai Mazor, head of the kolel study hall at the Ayelet Hashahar Synagogue in Givat Ze'ev northwest of Jerusalem, which is slated for demolition, on Tuesday took apart Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's accusations against the congregation the day before.

Ya'alon had slandered protesters trying to save the synagogue, and further claimed that the synagogue was built to hide "guest rooms" built behind it.

Rabbi Mazor broke down for Arutz Sheva Ya'alon's aspersions against the synagogue, in which he claimed it was built to hide a guest house that was built out of "greed," and which is an "oiled money-making machine"

"I've been here for the last 15 years in the area, I was here even before the synagogue was built, I've been here from its first day. I testify that this synagogue was built by wonderful people, outstanding citizens, they built the synagogue with self-sacrifice and with their money, with the approval of the regional council head, around 15 years ago."

"I merited to learn at this site and continue to learn here with the kolel students, we have between 30 and 40 kolel students. Around eight years ago a yeshiva of young men also arrived here, and we wanted for them to have an organized building to sleep in."

"We will now go into this building that the Defense Minister, with great insolence in my opinion, called a guest house for greed. The construction was not completed because the (radical leftist) group Yesh Din halted its construction."

"Again, this building was built eight years after the synagogue was established as a hostel for yeshiva students. The construction was not completed as we will now see."

The rabbi then led Arutz Sheva on a tour of the building, which can be seen below in Hebrew footage of the interview starting at around 1:30 into the film.

Sarcastically Rabbi Mazor presented the "fancy living room" of the disheveled "guest rooms," before showing the "jacuzzi."

"Unfortunately they halted things here. This building was meant to store yeshiva students, providing a place to sleep and eat, so they could study at the study hall."

Rabbi Mazor emphasized that there are documents verifying his testimony, and that the "guest rooms" were built with the approval and encouragement of the regional council head.

"It could be that there was some sort of administrative problem that I'm not connected to, but to suspect that we built this building as guest rooms out of greed is a completely wicked libel and it is not at all understandable where it came from."

He then led on to the study hall, noting that given the demolition orders "people think the (building at stake - ed.) is a tin shack, a lowly caravan. But really it's a magnificent synagogue."

"This is a fixed building...they study here, there is the voice of Torah here throughout the day every day, there are around 300 families who pray here," said the rabbi. "It's an active synagogue, a spiritual center for the entire community."

"To libel the wonderful group who built this place with self-sacrifice, and to speak of them as if they are greedy thugs - that's a libel of the worst sort that I could imagine, it's simply a false libel."

Synagogue members have argued that the land was legally purchased, but nevertheless offered the land's alleged owners a high price for the purchase or rental of the land - however, the owners and their lawyers have insisted that the synagogue be torn down.

The High Court's willingness to demolish the synagogue despite the possibility of riots has caused many to point to a double standard, given that as of January no fewer than 57 illegal mosques stood in Jerusalem alone.