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Judges dismiss police request for more time in evacuation to avoid clashes - despite choosing to leave illegal mosques nationwide.
By Nitsan Keidar
First Publish: 11/4/2015, 6:24 PM
High Court judges ruled on Wednesday afternoon to delay the demolition of the Ayelet Hashahar Synagogue in Givat Ze'ev, northwest of Jerusalem, ordering that it be destroyed within two weeks by November 17.
"We are working under the assumption that the certified authorities will not wait this time with the execution (of the order) to the last minute," said the judges.
The synagogue, which has been in use for over 20 years, was slated to be demolished after far-left group Yesh Din filed a petition with the High Court, claiming the structure was built on privately-owned Arab land. Synagogue members argue that the land was legally purchased, but offered the land's alleged owners a high price for the purchase or rental of the land - however, the owners and their lawyers have insisted that the synagogue be torn down.
High Court judges announced that the decision not to order an immediate evacuation of the synagogue was meant "to allow the certified authorities to execute the ruling at a time chosen according to operational needs" and avoid "inflexibility" - namely the protests at the site by concerned residents.
The judges said that they do not belittle the police estimations that the demolition of the place of worship will bring "riots by extremist sources," but said that the outraged reaction does not justify the postponement of executing the ruling.
They expressed their surprise that the police asked for three weeks to conduct the evacuation, saying that if they had accepted the police request, the evacuation could potentially be delayed for a long time.
"We can't accept a result like this in a law-abiding state," claimed the judges.
Many may view the ruling, and the judges' talk of potential riots not justifying a postponement, as ironic given the fact that there has been practically no enforcement against rampant illegal Arab building throughout Israel, including numerous illegally constructed mosques that have been left standing for many long years.
As of January, no fewer than 57 illegal mosques stood in Jerusalem alone.
The discriminatory situation was also highlighted in the case of Yeshivat Od Yosef Chai in Yitzhar, which was occupied and damaged by Border Police for nearly a year over unfounded allegations of "incitement" at the institution.
Staff noted back in April 2014 when the yeshiva was first occupied that the building looks out on a mosque that has long called to destroy the state of Israel. The mosque has had a destruction order against it from the Supreme Court for many years, although no action has been taken against it.