High Court delays ruling on JNF land sales to non-Jews

By Anshel Pfeffer and Yoav Stern, Haaretz

The High Court of Justice on Monday delayed its ruling on whether the Jewish National Fund should be obligated to sell its land to non-Jews by at least four months, in order to give the JNF time to reach an agreement with the Attorney General.

The JNF asked the court to delay the ruling, after JNF and Israel Lands Association representatives agreed last Thursday to temporarily implement a proposal by Attorney General Menachem Mazuz that JNF lands be marketed to any potential customer, without discrimination based on ethnicity.

In exchange, any time JNF land is sold to a non-Jew, the ILA will compensate it with other land, thereby ensuring that the overall amount of Jewish-owned land in Israel remains the same.

According to the state’s response to the High Court petition, which was signed by the head of the Justice Ministry’s High Court department, Osnat Mandel, the new arrangement will be in effect for three months.

The brief asked the court to postpone the hearing during this time, which the JNF and the ILA will use to discuss ways for the JNF to preserve its original goals while obeying the law.

The JNF has long insisted that its lands be sold only to Jews, due to the fact that the land was purchased with money from Jewish donors for the purpose of settling Jews in the Land of Israel.

This “tactical retreat” reportedly stems from the JNF’s concern that the High Court will issue a precedent-setting ruling in response to a 2004 petition filed by Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.

September 24, 2007 | Comments Off on High Court delays ruling on JNF land sales to non-Jews

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