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September 30, 2014 / 6 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘city of david’

“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

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

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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Archaeologists Inaugurate King Solomon’s Coronation Site

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

In a secret ceremony held Tuesday, officials inaugurated the  site of King Solomon’s coronation in the City of David.

The massive Canaanite fortress, built some 3,800 years ago, protects the Biblical Gihon Spring by allowing access to the water solely through a western entrance from within the city.

In the Book of Samuel (Shmuel) II, Chapter V, King David conquered the Zion Fortress from the Jebusite king and his men. Archaeologists believe it is possible they have discovered the fortress referred to in the Biblical passage, entered by King David’s soldiers as they conquered Jerusalem from the Jebusites.

At the beginning of the Book of Kings I, the prophet Nathan and Tzadok HaKohen describe the coronation of King Solomon as having taken place “on Gihon.” Researchers believe the ceremony took place at the heart of the Spring House, over the gushing Gihon Spring.

“When we open the Bible and read about King Solomon who was crowned here, on the Gihon Spring, today you can come and see that this is where it all started,” said Oriya Desberg, director of development at the City of David.

It took archaeologists 15 years to uncover the structure in one of the most complex and digs ever undertaken in the State of Israel.

The Spring House is a massive Canaanite fortress built in the 18th century BCE and is the largest such structure ever uncovered from the pre-Herodian period.

The archaeological dig from which the fortress emerged was led by Haifa University’s Professor Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

“In order to protect the water source, they built not only the tower, but also a fortified passageway that allowed the city residents a safe access to the water source,” explained archaeologist G. Uziel. The passageway continued to operate until the end of the Iron Age, the archaeologist said, “and it was only when the First Temple was destroyed that the fortress collapsed into ruins and was no longer used.”

The walls  – 23 feet (seven meters) thick – were built with stones that are about ten feet (two to three meters) wide, and no mechanical tools were used in the construction.

Why I Got Excited by a Jerusalem Manhole Cover

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

I had such a great Pesach! My family was in from the States, and for a brief time, and once again, we felt like a family (and then of course there was the ritual crying when everybody left.) My awesome Jerusalem apartment (rented) allows for everybody to crash while there are here, and thereby we fulfill the promise of Jerusalem being blessed with her children within her – Berach Banayich BeKirbech (Psalms 147;13)

While they were here, we got to act like tourists, that is, we got to see the amazing things that exist right under our noses. So we walked from the Mount of Olives (where I live) to Ir David (City of David Archaeological Park in Silwan, 15 minutes away) and had a tour there.

Here is the image that I wanted to share with you from that trip:

Ancient Manhole

No, this is not an alien face staring at you. If you look closely you will make out the outline of what is, amazingly, an ancient manhole cover from the Herodian period (Second Temple hayday) in Jerusalem. This actually is the face of a complex drainage system which ran below the city street and it caught rainwater and kept the street from puddling up. It is indented, concave, bowl shaped – it draws they water to itself and whisks it safely away.

You have to admit it, drainage is cool anywhere. But 2,000 year-old classy Jewish capital drainage makes me want to fall on my face and kiss the stones. My mothers and fathers walked here as they headed up and up from the City of David to the amazing Temple above. Here is what their ascent looked like – dunk at the pool at the bottom and just walk “Yashar Yasher” up the stairs:

City of David

Later that same day, I had yet another moving moment when I walked through the bustling river of people at the outdoor Mamilla shopping mall (avenue? promenade?)

Mamila

And in this modern marvel of shopping and lots-of-eating, where only a few years ago it was no-man’s land filled with dust and rocks, I saw this:

Modern Manhole

You guessed it; modern Jerusalem drainage.

And here’s what I thought: Ancient Jerusalem was destroyed by Rome, we were dispersed around the world, and now we are returning, reclaiming, and rebuilding. We have much more to do, but sometimes its nice to have a reminder from the past that our direction is right and that we are, indeed, ascending. And there is nothing like coming full circle on a full stomach!

Here are some French kids eating Matzah on their Eight Day Pesach – Yom Tov Sheini:

Kids Eating Matzah at Mamilla Mall

Paris is beautiful, but now Jerusalem is home again…

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Historic Jerusalem Home Firebombed (Video)

Monday, December 24th, 2012

A historic Jewish building in Jerusalem’s ancient City of David was firebombed by local Arabs , with supporters recording and posting the videotape on YouTube.

Arabs living in Shiloach/Silwan, just outside the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City and just a few hundred feet from the Kotel Plaza accosted the historic Meyhuchas House, uploading the video to YouTube courtesy of the “Bustan Cultural Center”.

The white stone house was built by Rabbi Rachamim Natan Meyuchas, a sephardic Jew who settled his family outside the Old City in the City of David in the late 1800s following at least 200 years of his family’s residence inside the Old City.  Soon after Rabbi Rachamim bought the property, Jews of Yemenite origin began arriving in the area and founded Kfar Shiloach.  By 1920, approximately 200 Jewish families lived in the area.  However, local Arab riots from 1936-1939 forced Jews to abandon their homes.

Arabs continued to maintain control in the area until recent years, when Jewish families began re-establishing a connection to the area, living in homes purchased by Jewish philanthropists from the Arabs who had possessed them.  Jewish residents are forced to maintain a high level of security in the area, and exercise caution when travelling on the local roads, due to concerns of rock and Molotov cocktail attacks.

The attack was conducted using crude firebombs and fireworks, which Arabs in eastern Jerusalem frequently fashion into ignited projectile weapons.

A letter published by Arutz Sheva and written by Rabbi Rachamim states: “We are establishing our home from now on in the village of Shiloah near the city. There we will live and there we will have light and breathe fresh air. We will no longer drink murky well water, and we will no longer eat purchased vegetables, but rather our water will be living water from the spring, and with our own hands we will sow vegetables and will partake of them.”

Israel Land Fund Chief: The Battle for Jerusalem Is Fierce and Desperate

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

As Jews around the world conduct the rituals of mourning in remembrance of the destruction of two Holy Temples in Jerusalem and the suffering of exile from the center of Jewish life, an ambitious plan and timeframe are afoot to rebuild Jerusalem and turn it once again into the pulsating heart of the Jewish world.

In an interview with the Jewish Press’s Yishai Fleisher, Director and Founder of the Israel Land Fund, Arieh King, described his organization’s efforts to reclaim stolen properties in eastern Jerusalem, and to expand the borders of the entire metropolis.

After Fleisher described an ambush he underwent in a narrow street in the Arab-dominated Wadi Joz neighborhood to the north of Jerusalem’s Old City, King warned that any area which does not have a Jewish population could become a hotbed of terrorism.

“There’s no question that once Jews are not there, there is no sovereignty, police are not entering there, this is the basis for anti-Israeli organizations to put their roots …There’s no question, if Jews were living there, things like that would not happen”.

King got his start as a security guard in the City of David in 1997.  Then most commonly known as Silwan, the area was wrought with strife and was targeted frequently by local Arabs for attacks, despite his position just adjacent to the most significant place in the city, the Old City of Jeruasalem.  Born on Kibbutz Alumim, King, is one of the ten original residents of Ma’ale Zeitim (Ras-Al-Amud) where he currently resides with his wife and children. He started the Israel Land Fund while trying to recover property on the Mt. of Olives in 2007.

According to King, the battle for Jerusalem is fierce and “desperate”.

“The changes are daily.  Unfortunately, of course, people are attacked, and there are bad things still happening, but if we compare it to other periods, we are [going in the] the right direction,” King said. “ I think that our success, not just the Israel Land Fund, but other organizations… in general, the major successes are building in Beit Orot a neighborhood of 16 apartments, in Shimon HaTzaddik at the Shepherd Hotel we built 76 Jewish apartments… this is something that is making our enemies almost desperate and because of that, they are allowing themselves to also attack us and to use a kind of weapon or kind of language that they never used, because they saw and they see almost daily that with all of their support that they get from the media, from the United States leadership, even from Israeli even politicians… they are not able to stop us.  And this is making them desperate, because they see the Jewish nation from all over the world is much stronger than what they thought it is.”

Up until now, King’s focus has been on areas specific to eastern Jerusalem – the Mount of Olives, Shimon HaTzaddik (the burial place of Temple high priest Simon the Just),  Beit Hanina, Beit Tzafafa,and  Jabil Mukaber, areas he said nobody was talking about 10 years ago.

In those areas, King has set about not only buying up Arab properties, but determining which properties were previously owned by Jews but are now being squatted on by Arabs.  During the interview, King described how he worked with local Arabs in the Shimon HaTzaddik neighborhood to determine who properties belonged to before the Jews were evicted by the Jordanians in 1948, and what the properties were used for.

His future plans for those areas include housing for 500 families (thanks in part to some anonymous donors- Canadian businessmen), 120 additional apartments in an area called Nachalat Shimon (which King says currently houses 3 large hotels), and a new complex which will be used by Yeshivat Ohr Somayach.

Now, King and a group of experts and city planners have come together to make plans for the rest of the city – proposals which will revolutionize the capital in just 38 years.

Though the plans of King and his architects, civil engineers, tourism experts, hoteliers, transportation, financial, and demographic experts – “most of them are leftists”, says King – were initiated before the recent government report by Edmund Levy, which said Israel has the right to act with sovereignty across Israel, King called the report “a big blessing”.  “I hope [the report] will be a good platform to start this movement of asserting sovereignty first of all around Jerusalem.  First.”

Called Jerusalem 5800, the plan is to expand Jerusalem to the east, north, and south by the year 2050.  As part of the plan, Gush Etzion in southern Judea will become a suburb of Jerusalem, as will Maale Adumim and Givat Ze’ev.

King noted that the expansion will not occur to the west, because of issues pertaining to forestry and rainwater collection.

The plan also aims to introduce a Jerusalem International Airport between Maale Adumim and the Dead sea in the Horkania valley, complete with cable cars and an underground tunnel to the Old City, to accommodate the estimated 10 million tourists the UN has predicted Jerusalem will host in the next 10-15 years.

“It will be a disaster,” King said.  “Where will all the people come? Where will they stay? In order to make it happen, we must change Jerusalem and to build and to dig underneath to make many tunnels to make the Holy Basin accessible.”

The stalwart activist also told Fleisher that a key component in the battle for Jerusalem is aliyah. “People [making aliyah] from Zionism, from Zionist reasons…. Any person that calls himself a Zionist is a Jerusalemist –Zion is Jerusalem.  When people are making aliyah, they are making aliyah because of Jerusalem,” King said.   “And by making aliyah, they are strengthening Jerusalem.

“I hope that each one who is making aliyah will come and live in Jerusalem, but even if they would choose, Raanana, Netanya, or Tel Aviv, it is strengthening Jerusalem, and we need all the time to think about Jerusalem and how we can strengthen Jerusalem,”

For those who have not yet come home to Israel as a way of strengthening Jerusalem, King says Jerusalem consciousness can do a lot for the city.  “We are now in the… Nine Days… this is the time for any Jew in the world to think – what did he do for Jerusalem.  Every day,” King said.  “I’m thinking about it every hour, but ok, every hour for me and for you Yishai, we are here, we see this ugly thing on the Temple Mount every day. So we cannot forget, it’s all the time in our minds, but people in the Diaspora need to think once in a day – what did they do for the sake of Jerusalem.”

“Jerusalem needs help,” King said.  And so does he.

“I’m working daily.  For me, when I see people that personally decided to change their way of thinking about Jerusalem, this is for me much more strengthening myself than if we found another Jewish property, because I think the most important things is to educate the people that Jerusalem needs their help,” King said.  “It’s not something that a few individuals can take care of.  Jerusalem is too big for me, too big for our organization, it is too big for all the organizations together – we need everybody to participate somehow – make one day [of the week] Jerusalem day, pray another prayer, stay after davening, say a perek of [Psalms] for Jerusalem.  When you come to Netanya,[also] come one day to Jerusalem.”

“People don’t understand how much it strengthens the people that are daily in the front line, suddenly to see people who are coming from afar and just saying hello, saying [way to go] about what you do.”

With all the progress, King wants Jews around the world to know there is much left to be done.  “Now we are in the Three Weeks, it’s important for people to know that Jerusalem is still a ruin,” King said.  “Many ruins in Jerusalem are waiting to be built.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/on-tisha-bav-jerusalem-activist-calls-to-diaspora-jerusalem-needs-help/2012/07/29/

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