Aryeh Binyamin, the gabbai (administrator) of the Ayelet HaShachar synagogue in Givat Ze'ev, reacted sharply to the words of Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon Monday, after the latter called synagogue supporters "thugs" and "extremists."
"Shame on you, Bogie," he said, referring to Ya'alon's popular nickname. "Your diplomatic immunity should be removed and you should be sued."
"The Ayelet HaShachar Synagogue was established 15 years ago, the synagogue has over 200 people, we have over 40 people learning in kollel full-time, they are all wonderful citizens," he continued.
"The land on which the synagogue is built was bought by us at full price. Instead of spreading slander against civilians – immediately resolve the crisis and to stop this magnificent synagogue from being destroyed."
Holy building, wholly controversial
The Ayelet HaShachar synagogue is slated to be demolished after a far-left group filed a petition with the Court, claiming that the structure had been build on privately-owned Palestinian Arab land.
The petition had been working its way through the courts for at least three years. Members of the congregation have offered the land's alleged owners a high price for the purchase or rental of the land, but they, and their lawyers, have insisted that the synagogue be torn down.
Public officials have rallied behind the synagogue and called to save it, stating that sends the wrong message to Israelis over the character of the Jewish state.
Ya'alon slammed supporters of the synagogue Monday in a press conference, drawing some moral equivalents to the extremists who torched a Palestinian Arab home in Duma.
"Support for these young men, who throw urine bags and rocks at security personnel, [support] from politicians – they are the seeds of destruction," he said. "It is not surprising then that they take the law into their own hands."
Ya'alon then implicated part of the blame to the Givat Ze'ev Municipal Council, claiming his Defense Ministry offered the local synagogue a temporary building, but was refused.