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

Supreme Court President Justice Miriam Naor and Justices Hanan Meltzer and Uzi Fogelman rejected a request to prevent the demolition of a Givat Ze'ev synagogue on Thursday, ruling that there was no change in the Court's position to destroy the building despite protests that the synagogue is built on legally-owned land. 

The 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. It is not clear why the Palestinian claimants waited some two decades to make their claims, the congregants said.

The heads of the congregation appealed after they stated they were in possession of documents showing that they bought the land from its owners.

Despite the rejection of the appeal, however, the justices have postponed the demolition until after the Sukkot holiday; it will be carried out on October 15. 

"Our response to postpone the demolition at the request of the political leadership is only made within the letter of the law," the judges stressed. "For reasons of sensitivity, we are choosing not to schedule the demolition during the High Holidays."

However, they also stated that "nothing has changed" regarding the legal or political aspects of the issue.