Protesters demand Deri quit government to save synagogue

Protest outside Deri's home; synagogue's rabbi to Deri, Bennett, Litzman: 'don't let desecration of G-d happen on your watch.'

Contact Editor
Eliran Aharon,

Protest in front of Aryeh Deri's house
Protest in front of Aryeh Deri's house
Eliran Aharon

Dozens of supporters and members of the Ayelet Hashahar Synagogue in Givat Ze'ev that is slated for demolition protested Tuesday night, in front of the home of Negev and Galil Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) in the western Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem.

The protesters demanded that the minister quit the government in an action against the intentions to destroy their synagogue as ordered by the High Court.

In parallel, Rabbi Azriel Cohen, the rabbi of the Ayelet Hashahar Synagogue, sent a letter to Deri as well as Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) and Health Minister Ya'akov Litzman (UTJ), calling on them to act to stop the demolition.

The rabbi emphasized that the destruction of a synagogue by the state of Israel is likely to serve as a precedent for nations of the world with hostile designs on Jewish holy sites.

"Unfortunately our synagogue stands before destruction," wrote Rabbi Cohen. "The Ayelet Hashahar Synagogue was established around 15 years ago, there are over 250 people in our community, and at the synagogue there is a kolel (study hall - ed.) of around 40 students who study every day and make heard the voice of the Torah."

"We purchased with cash in full the ground on which the synagogue is built from the owners," he stressed. "Despite that, to our shock the synagogue stands before destruction. While the Civil Administration has yet to complete its clarification of the land's status, the High Court ruled for the synagogue to be destroyed in the coming days."

"This is a precedent setting step in which the state of Israel by means of IDF soldiers and the Israel police is destroying the synagogue. There has never been such a thing! Never has such a disgrace occurred or such a desecration of G-d's name! We must remember that this could serve as a dangerous precedent for the nations of the world in their treatment of synagogues and holy sites to Jews."

"How do you stand silent? How do you allow a desecration of the name of G-d like this to pass on your watch? Wake up! Before it is too late. Don't stopper up your ears!," wrote the rabbi.

Rabbi Cohen noted that the three ministers are the heads of haredi or religious parties, adding, "we expect that you will not be a partner to the destruction of a synagogue in the land of Israel. Please regain your composure now and prevent the destruction. You can do it."