State Moves Toward Legalizing Illegally Built Synagogue in West Bank Outpost

Following more than a year of legal debate, Defense Ministry agrees to consider license for El Matan building as long as residents keep structure sealed over course of process.

The Defense Ministry has agreed to move toward granting a license to a synagogue built illegally in the West Bank outpost of El-Matan, as long as the residents there keep the structure sealed off over the course of the legal process.

The Yesh Din human rights organization had petitioned the High Court of Justice on behalf of neighboring Palestinian village councils to destroy the building.

Illegally built synaogue in El Matan
Chaim Levinson

The High Court of Justice responded by issuing an interim order to cease all construction on the structure. When the settlers breached that order, the state announced its plans to deal of the building.

Residents of the outpost and representatives of the Shomrom Settlers' Committee protested that decision in turn and began to apply political pressure to thwart the state's plans.

The Defense Ministry held a series of negotiations with the residents over the matter and decided to give them 30 days to seal the structure themselves.

Within 60 days of that occurring, the state will report back on the licensing progress for the synagogue and will ask the High Court of Justice to cancel the interim order.