Early on Tuesday morning, inspectors from the Civil Administration, which controls many aspects of life in Judea and Samaria, arrived at the site of an ancient pool in Ein Rashash, in the eastern Binyamin region, intending to destroy the pool.
The pool's water derives from the Ein Rashash wadi and the site is renowned for its natural beauty. However, Civil Administration officials arrived ready to destroy the site, claiming that it was unsafe and that it was dangerous to bathe in the waters.
Following the publication of an article about the impending demolition on Israel National News' Hebrew-language site, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who is also a minister within the Defense Ministry with authority over the Civil Administration, ordered the demolition halted and a comprehensive investigation of the site undertaken before any further decision is made.
Israel Ganz, head of the Binyamin Regional Council where the pool is located (not far from the Jordan Valley in southern Samaria) decried the attempt to destroy the historic site.
"This isn't about enforcing the law; it's a blatant attempt to destroy nature just for the sake of destroying," he said. "The Civil Administration is only concerning itself now because it's Jews who cultivated the site and made it accessible for tourists. Meanwhile, just dozens of meters away, Arabs pollute our natural resources on a regular basis. Bedouins light fires every single day and erect large encampments, which are completely illegal. And the Civil Administration completely ignores it.
"I am appealing to the Prime Minister and the ministers of the Defense Ministry to intervene immediately and prevent the demolition from going ahead," Ganz added. "The Civil Administration should be entirely dismantled, in order to prevent damage to the environment and the erosion and pollution of our natural resources."