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October 7, 2015 / 24 Tishri, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘city of david’

Jews Return to City of David Complex after 77 Years

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Jewish families and yeshiva students moved into a large complex in the old Yemenite community in the Silwan Valley in the pre-dawn hours Thursday morning, reclining another Jewish-owned property that was abandoned when the British expelled Jews in the 1930s.

The move, backed by the court that ordered eviction notices to Arab squatters, was made during the middle of the night in order not provoke friction with Arab neighbors.

The building, near the City of David across the street from the Western Wall plaza and located near other structures that have been bought by Jews in the old Yemenite Village, now is called Beit Rachel. It is a few minutes by foot from the recently redeemed sections of the original Yemenite Beit Knesset- Ohel Shlomo-Heichal Yonatan, named for Jonathan Pollard.

The original synagogue is one of the few buildings that remains in its entirety. It was one of the first buildings established in the Village by Yemenite Jews in 1885, who arrived in Jerusalem three years earlier before nay Arabs were living in the Silwan neighborhood.

Following Arab pogroms of 1936-37, the synagogue was defiled, desecrated and many holy books were burnt despite British promises to protect the holy Jewish site.

Arabs squatted in the old synagogue and in other buildings, including privately owned Yemenite homes.

In August 1938, the British Authorities removed the last remaining 35-40 Yemenite Jewish families who had managed to survive many years of attacks by Arabs in riots and pogroms.

The British High Commissioner on behalf of the British Government gave written assurances that the Jews would be able to return “shortly” to their homes but by the early 1940s,  Arabs had literally taken apart buildings and had stolen floor tiles, roof tiles, taps, building stones, window and door frames.





Final Steps Underway for Jerusalem’s City of David Visitor’s Center

Friday, May 29th, 2015

Final steps are underway for building the City of David’s “Kedem” visitor’s center in Jerusalem that will sit on top of the “Givati Parking Lot” excavation just outside of the Old City of Jerusalem’s walls. The visitor’s center will serve as an entryway to the Jerusalem Walls National Park, which includes the City of David and Mount Zion, as well as to the Old City’s Ophel and Hulda Gates.

Several Arab and left-wing activist groups have criticized the project for its location in the predominately Arab eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan and for interfering with the skyline of the Old City.

Many public officials and archaeologists including — Harvard University professor of design Carl Steinitz, Nobel Laureate Yisrael Aumann and renowned archaeologist Dr. Gabriel Barkay—have spoken out in favor of the project.

The structure will sit approximately 21 feet below the Old City walls so that it will not affect the iconic Jerusalem skyline, according to the City of David.

“The City’s goal is to lay down the infrastructure to accommodate about 10 million visitors a year,” Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said in a statement.


OU Rejects US Govt’s Criticism of Jews Buying Homes in Jerusalem

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

On Thursday, Oct. 2,  the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, strongly rejected statements made by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest and State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki with regard to Israeli plans for housing construction in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Givat HaMatos and Israeli Jews purchasing houses in the neighborhood of Silwan.

Commenting on these matters, Earnest stated: “This development [in Givat HaMatos] will only draw condemnation…” and “It also would call into question Israel’s ultimate commitment to a peaceful negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.” He further condemned “the recent occupation of residential buildings in the neighborhood of Silwan by people whose agenda provokes tensions, it only serves to escalate tensions.”

Psaki, the state department spokesperson, stated: “This development will only draw condemnation from the international community, distance Israel from even its closest allies [and] poison the atmosphere…”

The Orthodox Union’s executive director for public policy Nathan Diament issued the following statement in response:

“We reject yesterday’s harsh statements by the Obama Administration. First, they suggest that the onus for the peace process impasse is upon Israel, when in fact it is decades of Palestinian and Arab rejectionism and incitement (such as that voiced by Palestinian President Abbas at the UN General Assembly last week) that “poisons the atmosphere” for peace. Israel has demonstrated its interest in peace, not merely through words but through deeds, time and again.

Second, suggesting that Jews residing in neighborhoods of Jerusalem—the historic capital of Israel and the Jewish people—is “provocative” is offensive. It is also fundamentally at odds with the notion that differences over Jerusalem are to be resolved in negotiations.

Finally, the implied threat that Jewish residences in Jerusalem will “distance Israel from even its closest ally”—i.e., the United States—is a resort to rhetoric which is entirely unacceptable.

We appreciate the constructive conversation President Obama had yesterday with Prime Minister Netanyahu and the President’s restatement of his “unshakable” commitment to Israel’s security, which has been manifested in many practical ways. Yesterday’s statements by Administration spokespeople run counter to such a useful and productive working relationship.”

Jews Enter Six More Buildings in Silwan Secretly Bought from Arabs

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

More than two dozen Jews under heavy police escort moved into six more homes purchased by a Jewish investment company in Silwan Valley, including the City of David complex, in eastern Jerusalem Monday night.

A group of Arabs hurled firecrackers and stones at police in a failed attempt to enter one of the buildings, and one policeman was treated at the scene for head wounds.

Three of the homes are located in the City of David complex, located on the road opposite the Dung Gate that is the entrance to the Western Wall Plaza. At least one of the other homes is situated near the ancient Silwan Pool.

The Jewish Press has learned that approximately two dozen youth moved into the newly-purchased homes as part of a strategy to show an immediate presence prior to families moving in.

One of the youth, “A.” said he is part of a group of four young men who are in the two-story house near the Silwan Pool. He described the house as “very beautiful” and recently renovated. “A” added there was no violence and that the group intends to stay there for another day or two.

One resident of City of David said there is a long waiting list of families waiting for buildings to be purchased by Jews.

The leftist camp, backed by the European Union and Obama administration, has continuously protested the presence of Jews in the Arab neighborhood.

Jews, including a large group from Yemen, lived in the Silwan area decades ago but were forced out by the British during the period of the Mandate even though properties were purchased by Jews.

The City of David organization keeps its lips shut tight on how buildings are bought, and the recent purchases are no exception.

Its spokesman Ze’ev Orenstein told The Jewish Press that the organization was not “directly involved” in the purchases, which were carried out by the Kendell Financing company.

Kendell’s lawyer Avi Segal told The Jewish Press, “Kendell Finance is a company that deals with property and investments. The company chose to invest in buildings in Jerusalem that were bought legally.”

All other questions to Segal and Orenstein were met with a wall of silence, which is the smartest strategy because anything they say will be held against them by Peace Now, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and anyone else who cannot stand to see Jews violating the sacred principles of the holy ”peace process” that demands the expulsion of Jews from the same neighborhood from which the British once expelled them.

Al sources are mum on the purchase price of the homes and the whereabouts of the previous Arab owners.

It is widely accepted that the buildings fetch a hefty price, especially since the Arab sellers know that Jews are willing to pay through the nose to return to the area.

The Arab sellers usually operate through a third party to protect themselves and their families from their brethren who consider them traitors for selling to Jews.

The Obama administration can be expected to frown on the new purchases in Silwan Valley.

Let them frown.

“Mayor Nir Barkat Fired Me for Doing My Job”

Monday, September 8th, 2014

My name is Arieh King. I am the Chairman for the United Jerusalem Party (UJP) in the Jerusalem Municipality. Last week I was dismissed from my municipal responsibilities on the Emergency and Security Committee & Environmental Protection Committee by Mayor Nir Barkat because I opposed him in the District Court for his overriding the protocol of the City Planning Committee. He claims I am conflicted; either I support him and his plans or I can’t be a member of his coalition. That may be his view, but I will not allow Jerusalem City planning protocols to be compromised, and I stand by that.

Jerusalem is not a diplomatic or political football and should not be used by the Mayor or Prime Minister to satisfy the demands of foreign nations who impose themselves on Israel’s exclusive agenda. Further, the City should be using its authority to establish an approvals record for fair and unbiased development by providing support for planning that is non-discriminatory. Instead, as is the case with the most recent advance of the expanded neighborhood of Arab El-Sawahchra, Mayor Barkat has allowed leftist and Arab political organizations to influence his City planning to expand Arab designated suburbs.

This is not a case against illegal Arab building, notwithstanding the 39,000 illegal Arab dwellings Mayor Barkat refuses to penalize, tear down, or approve. Nor is this a case against the urban sprawl permitted by the Mayor who feels that Arabs prefer to live in low density apartments resembling their villages. This case reflects a much greater problem, an apartheid against Jews. The City should not turn a blind eye to a political movement knowing they will promote specific ethnic use by the authority vested in them. Instead it should ensure that adjacent development approval is granted to ensure a balanced mix of neighborhood regions that will enable and promote a cultural harmony. This is a case against the planning protocol breached to benefit some other purpose the Mayor is not willing to disclose.

An example of improved planning can be seen in the microcosm that is the City of David. Once the seat of terrorists and Jew-haters, it is now a reasonably balanced community of Jewish and Muslim neighbors who mostly experience the type of quiet enjoyment the City should be planning. For the past 10 months I have worked tirelessly for the City. As the Chairman of Security and Environment committees I overcame many difficulties. My family and I live in Malei Zeitim on the Mount of Olives, where mixed neighbors coexist and where improvements to security continue to bring more stability for Jewish and Muslim residents. Its not only Jews who live in fear of terrorist insurgents that live amongst us!

To be clear, I did not walk away from Nir Barkat’s coalition, he dismissed me because I opposed his compromising the City. In all likelihood he capitulated to pressure brought on him by the Prime Minister whose demands are driven by international diplomacy. Whilst I am sensitive to the bigger picture, we cannot advance by compromising professional protocol. It simply serves to accelerate decision making and remove or confuse those who have been vested in authority to approve plans by the communities that elected them.

Jerusalem requires a delicate touch. As everyone knows, it is a delicate mix of culture and religion and it is affected by various insurgencies vested in it. It is a Jewish City managed by a majority of Jews who do a great job serving the interest of all religious and non-religious populations. However the notion of East and West Jerusalem is a flaw, born in a split along its North-South axis. Unless the City planning authority is permitted to do its job and through its authority uniformly plan to ensure optimal economic prosperity for Jerusalem’s residents, I’m afraid the cycle of foreign dominance over this beautiful city will prevail.

Former Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum Visits City of David

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

“Former senator and 2012 presidential candidate Rick Santorum began a three-day trip to Israel on Monday “to show solidarity with the State of Israel…and to reaffirm the moral and strategic imperative of maintaining a strong, close, enduring U.S.-Israeli alliance,” according to his Conservative group ‘Patriot Voices.”

The first stop on Santorum’s itinerary was a visit to the City of David. “Walking through the City of David, seeing the excavations and seeing the Bible come to life, is really quite remarkable… It’s a great start to the understanding of Jerusalem, not just for Jews, but for all of us,” he said.

Santorum connected his visit to Operation Protective Edge as he made his way through the drainage channel beneath the Herodian road, leading from the Shiloach Pool up to the Western Wall Plaza.

“Walking through the tunnel, where the last 2,000 Jews were killed by the Romans, when they sacked Jerusalem [and] to be walking through those tunnels, at a time when tunnels are being built to kill Jews, was a striking contrast, and one which will stick with me for a long time,” he explained.

Santorum’s itinerary also includes visiting an Iron Dome battery and meetings with Israeli government and IDF officials, Israeli soldiers, and residents of the south directly impacted by the war with Hamas.



A Special Tour of the City of David

Monday, June 2nd, 2014


Yishai presents special audio recorded while on a tour with Ze’ev Orenstein, director of International Public Relations for the City of David Foundation. Listen in as Orenstein takes Yishai and others on an amazing tour of the historical city.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
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Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/tv/radio/a-special-tour-of-the-city-of-david/2014/06/02/

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