Elmatan Synagogue
Elmatan Synagogue Yoni Kempinski

Residents of the Shomron (Samaria) community of El Matan, where both religious and non-religious Jews reside, are outraged after the court ordered that the local synagogue be sealed off after the holidays.

“It’s a ridiculous thing,” said Sagit Mor, Chair of the El Matan Council, in a conversation with INN. “The leftist  organization that sued us claims that the synagogue is on nature reserve land, but anyone who comes here will see that it’s wrong. It’s right near our houses. They say that it [disturbs] the Arabs [but] there are no Arab houses here.”

Mor criticized Israel’s government for allowing the sealing of the synagogue. “We can’t imagine how here in Israel, with a government that we voted for, a government that should let us live the right way, is going to close our synagogue. It’s our basic right. It’s every Jew’s basic right. It’s a terrible thing, it hurts us but it also offends us.”

The residents’ feelings of anger are only deepened by the fact that a mosque is being built illegally near El Matan.

“It’s a very sad fact that the Arabs can do illegal things which the government doesn’t  [make] any effort to stop , and here when we do a very basic thing on our land, they come with ridiculous claims and try to close our synagogue,” said Mor.

On Monday, MK Danny Danon (Likud) toured the El Matan synagogue and saw the illegal mosques nearby as they undergo renovations.

“It is absurd that a right-wing government orders sealing a synagogue, and it becomes even more absurd when across the road illegal mosques are being renovated,” said Danon during the visit. “It is simply subservience to Abbas and I call on the Prime Minister to get involved in the matter. If this is the first course of peace talks, I am afraid to think what we’ll get for dessert.”

The residents of El Matan are planning an extensive media campaign in an attempt to stop the synagogue from being sealed. As part of the campaign, a protest and public prayer will be held on the Monday after the holiday of Sukkot. The event will take place at the Yitzhar Junction which is located opposite the illegal renovated mosque. Public figures, rabbis and MKs are scheduled to take part.