From Rabbi Pesach Lerner, Executive Vice President, National Council of Young Israel
We cannot let a yeshiva/shul in Israel be destroyed.
Arutz Sheva, May 9, 2010: The IDF's Civilian Administration issued a demolition order Sunday against the spacious building that houses Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva at Yitzhar, in Samaria.Local residents believe that authorities are purposely punishing the yeshiva because of a confrontation with the IDF that took place on Independence Day, and also because security forces hold the yeshiva's students responsible for various attacks against Arabs in recent months and years... “It turns out that the authorities are making special efforts to hurt the yeshiva in an unfair and vindictive way,” a yeshiva spokesman said Sunday. “It should be noted that the building is an ornate permanent structure, with an area of 1,300 square meters, which was built with the aid of the Ministry of Housing and was approved by the various authorities to serve as an educational institution.”
The destruction order, the residents said, cited an 11 year old work-stoppage order – one that they had never heard of until now. The building took years to build and cost over $1 million.
I could not believe what I was reading...In Israel, Jews were going to destroy a yeshiva/shul building? As I researched the situation...it seemed obvious that the Israeli government was using the pretext of a seemingly 11-year old building violation to punish the yeshiva and its students who seemingly have become a nuisance to the government.
But to destroy a yeshiva - a place of Tefillah and Torah study - in Israel? ...The individuals responsible should be held accountable, but to destroy a yeshiva is quite excessive. Besides the Chilul Hashem, which is severe in its own right, what will we tell the Europeans the next time they want to destroy an old shul, for whatever reasons they may have? Does the Israeli government destroy a public school in Tel Aviv when its students are involved, chas v’shalom in some sort of wrongdoing?
...I contacted the Rosh HaYeshiva of the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva, which has been in Yitzhar for almost 10 years, since its original home, Joseph's Tomb in Shechem, was abandoned by the Israeli army and destroyed by the Arabs. Rabbi Yitzchok Shapira, the Rosh HaYeshiva, told me that the yeshiva had in fact received a demolition order, based on a violation from 11 years ago - a violation which they knew nothing about.
I was picked up by Rabbi Dan Marans, whom I personally know in his capacity as the director of the Zomet Institute in Alon Shvut. We drove through the Shomron to the community of Yitzhar, which is on a strategic mountaintop, overlooking Har Greizim, quite a distance from the main road. The yeshiva building, a beautiful multi-floored structure, stood away from the community, in its own space. ...I met with the Rosh HaYeshiva, Rabbi Yitzchok Shapira and the yeshiva director, Itamar Pozen. They shared with me the tzav harisa, the destruction order, and a package of documents proving their legal status, and the fact that numerous departments in the Israeli government participated in the building of the yeshiva.
... Rabbi Shapira told me that the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva has been teaching its students for many years that every Jew must be “mutually responsible” for every other Jew. This movement of “mutual responsibility” threatens the government. ...The idea that Jews would destroy yeshiva/shul buildings under any circumstances is reprehensible. If a European country threatened to destroy a shul 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.
...I spoke to numerous roshei yeshiva and community rabbis in Israel, and they all agreed that Jews must not destroy yeshivas/shuls. I spoke to various Israeli government officials, all of whom could not understand how such an order could be given.
...We have a responsibility to do all that we can to ensure that this order gets overturned. We must publicly urge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to forcefully and publically rescind this order. We cannot sit back and allow a yeshiva, a beautiful center of Torah and Tefillah, to be destroyed.
Each of us must send daily emails, send daily faxes, and make daily phone calls to the Prime Minister of Israel protesting this inconceivable action. People need to send letters to the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC and to the Israeli Consulate in New York.
We must demand that our community organizations, our rabbis, our entire community, speak out. We cannot allow this Chilul Hashem, this desecration of G-d’s name, to take place. Please send an email, send a fax, and make a call, now.
Tell the Prime Minister to protect the yeshiva building in Yitzhar and prevent it from being destroyed. And, in the merit of our speaking out, of caring for our fellow Jews and our Torah institutions, may we merit Shalom al Yisrael, peace in Israel.
Contact Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at:
Contact Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at:
Telephone - 011-972-2-670-5532 (attention: Tzvi Hauser, Cabinet Secretary of the Israel government)
Fax (send to all three numbers) –011-972-2-563-2580 (attention: Tzvi Hauser, Cabinet Secretary of the Israel government), 011-972-2-670-5369, 011-972-2-649-6659
Email (send to all three email addresses) –
mailto:http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Sherut/IsraeliAbroad/Continents/North+America/United+States/?subject=attn%3ATzvi%20Hausner (attention: Tzvi Hauser, Cabinet Secretary of the Israel government)
mailto:email@example.com?subject=Od%20Yosef%20Chai%20Yeshiva%20should%20not%20be%20destroyedmailto:firstname.lastname@example.org?subject=Od%20Yosef%20Chai%20Yeshiva%20Should%20Not%20be%20Destroyed (underscore after pm)
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