Mobile synagogue sent to advance demolition

Defense Ministry dispatches mobile building to house congregants' prayers, allowing synagogue destruction to take place.

Ido Ben-Porat,

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

The Defense Ministry intends to dispatch a mobile building to Givat Ze'ev northwest of Jerusalem to serve as a temporary place of prayer for congregants of Ayelet Hashahar Synagogue, which is expected to be demolished within a day.

The ministry's decision was made overnight following discussions held by Kobi Eliraz, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's (Likud) adviser on settlements, after a compromise proposal was accepted. Ya'alon ordered that the mobile building be sent in the coming day.

According to the proposal, the synagogue is to be demolished and parts of it will be used to rebuild at an adjacent plot, in a new synagogue that is to be established by the regional council.

The synagogue was slated for destruction after a far-left group filed a petition with the High Court on behalf of an absent alleged Arab land owner.

Congregants note the land was legally bought, but even as they were involved in legal proceedings to clarify the status of the land given the absence of a building permit, the court issued the demolition order.

The case of the synagogue has raised outrage in Israel, particularly given that hundreds of illegal mosques have been left standing nationwide on national parks and Jewish cemeteries, which were constructed without a building permit just like the synagogue slated for demolition.

In stark contrast, the state in the past refrained from demolishing the mosques due to their "sensitive" religious nature.