Razing of West Bank synagogue postponed over security issues

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Supreme Court extended the deadline for the demolition of a synagogue in a West Bank settlement in response to a police request.

On Wednesday, the court granted a postponement until Nov. 17 due to the “operational needs” of the police and Israel Defense Forces, though it complained the request was unjustified, The Jerusalem Post reported, citing a statement issued by the court. Police had made the request the previous evening for a delay on Thursday’s deadline for razing the synagogue due to the need for more security forces to deal with security issues between Jews and Palestinians.

Hundreds of protesters barricaded themselves in the synagogue in Givat Zeev, a municipality of 14,000 people located about five miles north of Jerusalem, on Wednesday.

The Ayelet HaShachar synagogue has been holding worship services for about 20 years. The Supreme Court ruled in 2014 that the structure was built illegally on land owned by a Palestinian and should be demolished after seven years of the case winding its way through the courts. The order has gone through a series of appeals. The synagogue was accused of using forged documents to prove it had purchased the land.

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Protesters had threatened to use violence against security forces, including weapons.

On Tuesday night, protesters vandalized a wall of the Supreme Court building, spray-painting the message “You don’t destroy a synagogue, we want a Jewish state.”

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