Jewish Home chairman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday issued a surprising call, demanding that security forces carry out the High Court's orders to destroy Ayelet Hashahar Synagogue in Givat Ze'ev, northwest of Jerusalem.
"The ruling of the High Court about the synagogue in Givat Ze'ev – difficult. But I completely reject any call to refuse orders or to violence," wrote Bennett.
"The ruling must be enforced and the synagogue should be established at a new site."
Bennett's comments come in response to a letter issued the day before by senior rabbis from across the political spectrum, who urged security forces not to destroy the synagogue, noting that Jewish law forbids the destruction.
"It is an act prohibited by our holy Torah. Even the decision of the kingdom (i.e. state – ed.) and the leadership does not change this severe Torah prohibition, this is also blasphemy," they wrote. "We call on anyone with a Jewish heart – take pity, take pity on your souls, and do not even come close to doing wrong by this synagogue. All those who disassociate themselves from this horrible offense, will have blessings and good come to him, and succeed in all ways."
Aside from rabbis, members of Bennett's own party have called not to destroy the synagogue.
Congregants of the synagogue argue that they purchased the plot legally, but radical leftist groups have led lawsuits for the alleged Arab owners and got the High Court to issue the demolition order.
Bennett on Tuesday was asked by the synagogue's rabbi not to let the destruction happen on his watch, but while Bennett apparently ignored the request, Shas chairperson Minister Aryeh Deri responded to an identical call and reportedly has proposed a solution to move the synagogue without destroying it.
The Jewish Home chairperson's support of destroying the synagogue adds to another recent surprising statement of support he made, when he on Monday backed the discriminatory ban on Jewish prayer at the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism.
Late last month Bennett also voiced his support for installing cameras at the Mount, in a concession to Jordanian demands for greater means in banning Jewish prayer at the site.