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Yeshiva Granted 45 Days Before Demolition
Sivan 13, 5770, 26 May 10 04:07
by Hillel Fendel

( A yeshiva in Samaria has been granted a 45-day stay on its demolition orders, as legal and public efforts heat up to prevent its destruction.

The Od Yosef Chai (Joseph Still Lives) yeshiva in Yitzhar was originally founded in Shechem (Nablus), where Joseph of the Bible is buried. Yeshiva staff and students were astonished to find two weeks ago that their 2.5-story, 1,300-square-meter building was slated for demolition. The building has been deemed “illegal” because it has not received its final approval from the Defense Minister – currently Ehud Barak.

Neither have other parts of the town of Yitzhar, or of many other towns in Judea and Samaria. In fact, this has long been the model of construction throughout Israel. Gush Etzion Regional Council Chief Sha’ul Goldstein said last year, “We did a study of 200 towns in Israel, and we found that every single one of them was first built, and only years later received final approval. Every single one!” He said the study included even towns built in the 1980s.

“To accuse us of building illegally,” Goldstein said, “when a host of government offices helped us, and when this is how the entire State of Israel was built, is simply to lie and deceive.”

In any event, this has not stopped the Defense Ministry from instructing the Civil Administration from threatening to demolish the Yitzhar yeshiva. Currently nearly 100 students study there, in both the Dorshei Yechudcha high school-age yeshiva and Od Yosef Chai itself.

“The Civil Administration granted us a 45-day extension this week,” yeshiva director Elyasaf Posen told Israel National News, “and we plan to use this period to gather all the documentation showing how many government offices were involved in the construction of the yeshiva, as well as to pressure government officials – especially Prime Minister [Binyamin] Netanyahu to pressure Ehud Barak.”

“This was a totally political decision by Barak,” Posen said, “because he knows that the only thing is missing is his own signature – as it is in many other parts of Yitzhar – and Barak himself was the prime minister when it was started. He admitted this himself at a Knesset committee meeting; we have the minutes. In addition, the Defense Ministry and the Prime Minister’s office were involved in organizing the construction of the yeshiva – and this is what is so absurd about the entire situation.”%ad%

Sword Must Be Removed, Not Shelved
Posen said that the yeshiva plans to use this struggle for a winning cause: “We will not suffice with a promise that they will not raze the building. We have a sword hanging over us, and it won’t be enough for them to say they’re placing it on a hook, where someone else could easily come along and use it against us. We insist that the final approval be issued, once and for all.”

A public campaign against the demolition has been initiated, with the public called upon to phone (011-972-2-670-5532), fax (011-972-2-563-2580), or email ( Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Rabbi Pesach Lerner, head of the National Council of Young Israel in New York, who is spearheading the drive, has written, “The idea that Jews would destroy yeshiva/synagogue buildings under any circumstances is reprehensible. If a European country threatened to destroy a synagogue under the pretext of a building code violation, Jews from all walks of life – Orthodox and non-Orthodox – would demand that the order be cancelled. The protests against such an inconceivable act would be loud and numerous.”
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