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Ministry Closes Yitzhar School Over Violent Attacks

Decision to close the school, which was made at the recommendation of the Shin Bet security service, was also approved by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.

The Education Ministry has ordered the immediate closure of the Dorshei Yehudecha yeshiva high school in the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar, due to what it termed the involvement of both students and staff in acts of violence against Palestinians and Israeli security forces.

Outgoing Education Ministry Director General Shimshon Shoshani warned the yeshiva's administration that its continued operation would constitute a crime subject to imprisonment. The decision to close the school, which was made at the recommendation of the Shin Bet security service, was also approved by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.

Shoshani said the school's activities are inconsistent with Israel's values as a Jewish and democratic state and with minimal educational values. He said evidence showed the high school's students were involved in acts of violence against Arabs and security forces even during class time. He also said leading rabbis from the yeshiva supported and were involved in the violence, and even exposed the students to material that would incite them to commit such acts.

Shoshani said there was classified evidence linking several of the yeshiva's nine rabbis to violence.

At a hearing with Shoshani before he made his decision, Dorshei Yehudcha's lawyer said the school administration had been given information about the involvement of only one student in violent activities against Palestinians, and that he had been expelled from the yeshiva for unrelated reasons.

The Yitzhar settlement issued the following statement: "Throughout the past year, the Education Ministry has conducted itself like an underground organization that operates in the dark and refuses to shed light on its acts. The use of classified information, to which it is impossible to respond so as to prove its falsity, is not the conduct of a properly run establishment but of an undemocratic government."

Dorshei Yehudcha is sponsored by the Od Yosef Hai organization headed by Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg. The organization includes the Od Yosef Hai Yeshiva for adults as well as a publishing house. Two leading figures in the organization, rabbis Yosef Elitzur and Yitzhak Shapira, wrote the controversial book "Torat Hamelech" ("The King's Torah" ), which takes a permissive attitude toward killing non-Jews in some circumstances.

The evidence in the Shin Bet's possession includes material relating to an incident in April in which several young men from Yitzhar, some of them masked, went to the Palestinian village of Assira al-Kabalia, threw stones and torched a car. A video clip of the incident clearly shows Rabbi Shapira standing near the perpetrators.

קראו כתבה זאת בעברית: הישיבה ביצהר תסגר בגלל אלימות כלפי פלסטינים