What you see above is a picture of the Od Yosef Chai Synagogue and Yeshiva (place of Jewish study) in Yitzhar in Samaria. I wrote about this on May 20 and repeat the information here:
On May 9, the IDF’s Civilian Administration (the administrative body for Judea and Samaria, overseen at the top by Defense Minister Barak) issued a demolition order against this building.
So volatile is this situation that Arutz Sheva cited a warning from MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) that bloodshed would ensue. He called it a “declaration of war against the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria.”
“Local residents believe that authorities are purposely punishing the yeshiva because of a confrontation with the IDF that took place on Independence Day, and also because security forces hold the yeshiva’s students responsible for various attacks against Arabs in recent months and years.”
Note of clarification: Yeshiva head Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira was held by authorities this winter with regard to an arson attack on the Kafr Yassuf mosque. Reports the JPost: “A Jerusalem District Court judge forced the police to release Shapira for lack of evidence.”
As to Independence Day, Yitzhar residents say that IDF troops began harassing visitors who wanted to tour the area and prevented them from entering the springs near the settlement. When the soldiers tried to hold back one of the residents, other settlers became agitated. The residents say that one of the soldiers stationed in the area fired a warning shot into the air. When he refused to give his name, the residents demanded that he remain in the area until he agreed to do so.
The IDF says that residents attacked soldiers with stones, lightly hurting three.
According to the Arutz Sheva report:
“‘…the authorities are making special efforts to hurt the yeshiva in an unfair and vindictive way,’ a yeshiva spokesman said… ‘It should be noted that the building is an ornate permanent structure, with an area of 1,300 square meters, which was built with the aid of the Ministry of Housing and was approved by the various authorities to serve as an educational institution.’
“The destruction order, the residents said, cited an 11 year old work-stoppage order – one that they had never heard of until now. The building took years to build and cost over $1 million.
Further clarifications from the JPost :
The IDF administration in Judea and Samaria claimed that the construction was done outside the zoning area for this type of building. The Yitzhar treasurer, Itamar Posner, however, maintains “that the building was within an appropriately zoned area of the settlement…
“…he noted that the ministries of Construction and Housing as well as Transportation had invested heavily in the project. They would not have done so if it was illegal, he reasoned.
“Posner added no one at the yeshiva has any record of a demolition order from 1999. Nor had they heard anything about it in past years.
“…The yeshiva…posted a response [on its website] that said, in part, that the legal status of the yeshiva was stronger than many other structures in Judea and Samaria.”
I will add here that this must also be considered in light of the reluctance of the government to demolish illegal Arab homes, and the furor that ensures over an attempt to do so (which I addressed yesterday).
Yesterday, I also wrote about how problematic Barak’s positions are: how he fails to protect Jewish interests, instead showing an eagerness to make concessions.
He’s fond of muscle-flexing, but in the wrong way. He likes to show one and all that he’s really tough with the people on the right, courting approval from the left and, need I add, the international community. Obama and Abbas would be so pleased with him if he demolished this Yeshiva. But what a shameful and obscene act it would be.
The date for demolition is just days away.
This cannot be permitted to proceed.
I am asking you to write to Prime Minister Netanyahu (not Barak himself). The demand is that Netanyahu stop Barak. We need a huge outpouring of protest. As always, numbers count.
Make your message short and to the point, please.
If you are writing from outside of Israel, note that the world is watching and if Barak succeeds he will do Israel considerable harm among the very people who are Israel’s biggest supporters.
If you are inside of Israel, let the prime minister know that he is being watched and will be held responsible. What happens will affect his support now and in the next election.
The heart of the message: Jews do not destroy synagogues. This is a shameful thing to do and gives great comfort to our enemies.
Share this and encourage others to act.
02-670-5369 Write: “Attention Tzvi Hauser, Cabinet Secretary.”
Please, also fax to 02-670-5369 and 02-649-6659
(From the US: 011-972, drop the 0 before the 2 and proceed with the rest of the number.)
Please, send to both addresses.
For the first address, above, put in subject line: “Attention: Cabinet Secretary, Zvi Hauser.”
For the second address, above, put “No Demolition at Yitzhar,” “Don’t destroy the Yeshiva,” “Stop Barak now,” or something similar.
Please! Take the time to do this.