The contents of the “Ayelet Hashachar” synagogue in Givat Zeev were evacuated by the government’s Civil Administration workers on Sunday night.
The Israeli High Court had previously ruled that the land the synagogue was built on may be privately owned Arab land and the synagogue was to be destroyed.
The case was brought to the High Court by the Yesh Din NGO, claiming an Arab, Rabah Mohamed Asaf Abd al-Latif, a resident of the village of al-Jib, owned the land, after inheriting it from his father.
The leaders of the synagogue say they paid for the land, in full, but the court ruled the documentation failed to sufficiently prove they purchased it from al-Latif’s father via an Arab intermediary.
Abed Karim Mohammed Odeh claims his father, the intermediary, purchased the land, from the father of Rabah Mohamed Asaf Abd al-Latif, and then sold it to Arieh Benjamin. The synagogue already began preparing the land for construction in 1998.
According to the original petition in 2008, al-Latif claimed that Odeh’s power of attorney document was forged, and the land wasn’t sold to him, and therefore wasn’t his to resell.
Currently the building will be sealed, and the congregation will be given additional time, at least until August 17th, to prove they properly purchased the land from the original Arab owner.
In the meantime, the congregation had hoped to reach some sort of financial accommodation with the Arab plaintiff, be it buying the land again, or paying rent, but the Arab plaintiff and his lawyers are demanding the synagogue be destroyed.
The synagogue serves hundreds of congregants.
A final farewell prayer session will be held in the synagogue on Monday morning.