City Hall Razes Illegal Structure Used as a Shul

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Some explained that when the bulldozer arrived in Gilo on Wednesday morning, 12 Adar I 5774 to execute an order to raze the illegal structure it was like seeing the destruction in Gush Katif all over again. The structure in question is an illegal addition to a private home, which has served as a shul for 15 years.

The shul on HaShayish Street is a part of a private home in the southern neighborhood of the capital, and askanim and councilmen were working to get a stay order from the courts to prevent the destruction, but City Hall officials were unwilling to wait one hour, preferring to rip the shul apart.

The shul has been run by Rabbi Avital Maimon has been operating for a decade-and-a-half, but it appears due to a growth in the minyan, a portion was added in the past year, extending onto the porch about five meters (5.4 yards).

Councilman Aryeh King, who heads the United Jerusalem party added “Tens of mosques are built against the law and not a single one of them has ever been razed”. King, a member of the dati leumi community, questions why there is not a louder outcry from the tzibur, stating the public should be outraged at seeing such an act.

King worked with Councilmen Rami Levi and Michael Michaeli to get a stay order, and the court set a hearing for noon, but City Hall was impatient and was unwilling to wait an hour.

City Hall officials say the court rejected the request, adding that no matter what agreement was reached in the past regarding the shul, the operators continued violating the agreements until it reached a point the city felt compelled to act. City officials add that the addition to the private home is illegal, the shul is in violation of zoning laws and operating without a permit, and the court has issued a demolition order.

Community residents were horrified to see the destruction, stating they would have expected the city to fight to keep a shul and not the opposite.

Ultimately, the demolition was not completed and the court is hearing both sides. King and Levi submitted their conditional letter of resignation from the city council, explaining if the remaining structure is knocked down they will resign, unwilling to serve as part of such an administration.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem / Photos: Courtesy of JDN)


9 COMMENTS

  1. I’m outraged too – outraged that “frum” Jews think they can do whatever they want because they wear kipot on their heads. People in the minyan broke the law!

  2. To Commenter No. 1: What in this article suggests that Israel is not a democracy? Zoning and construction codes are found in every democracy. Torah requires us to obey the law of the governing country and other governing jurisdictions, such as municipalities and sewer districts. The governing country in this article is the State of Israel. What is your problem.

  3. to #6 and #1 — Israel is unfortunately a democracy – and in a democracy if the majority of the people don’t like you, you are in big trouble.

    #3, #5, and #6 – In the United States, a zoning law being applied prejudicely against a religious group would raise serious constitutional scrutiny. The fact that the “city fathers” don’t want a shul, would in itself be grounds for further litigation. The problem is that Israel is run by bigots, and we are the target of their bigotry.

  4. The structure was found to be violating the building code for that neighborhood. Anyone who has been to Gilo knows there is no shortage of shuls ranging from big ones to small shtieblach like the one in this article. Wikkopedia (Fn 21) says there are 35 shuls in the Gilo neighborhood, including 34 who apparently followed the rules and one that felt the rules didn’t apply to them. Maybe when the demolition is completed, the other 34 will understand they have to stay within the rules.