Monday, September 27, 2010

Yeshivat "Ateret Cohanim" buying houses in Jerusalem's Arab Quarter


The national religious Yeshiva "Ateret Cohanim" is known for buying property in Jerusalem's Arab and Christian Quarter in the Old City. Either "Ateret Cohanim" is trying to find a former Jewish owner of the property or simply trying to convince an Arab owner to sell his property to the Jews. Parts of today's Arab Quarter used to be Jewish and only became Muslim after the Arabs started with their pogromes. 

As soon as a Palestinian decides selling his property to "Ateret Cohanim", the Yeshiva is taking care of covering his identity and, if necessary, get him out of the country so that his Muslim "brothers" don't kill him.

Every Chol HaMoed Pessach and Sukkot, "Ateret Cohanim" offers free trips to the Jewish houses inside the Arab Quarter and I usually participate. I did yesterday and will do so today. This time, they even offered a trip to the controversial "Beit Yonathan" in the Arab village of Silwan (right outside the Kotel - Western Wall) but the trip was canceled due to security issues.  

When you leave the Western Wall through the tunnel (Kotel), you get into the Arab Quarter. About 70, 80 and 90 years ago, this area was Jewish. Many chassidic groups settled there and the entire area was full of Yeshivot and Synagogues. Until today you can still see signs of Mezuzot on the door frames. Rabbi Me'ir Kahane's brother has his Synagogue in the area and the Breslover Baal Teshuva Rabbi Eliezer Berland opened his Yeshiva "Shuvo Banim". Once Jewish life flourished right outside the tunnel but today you have to be careful due to the security situation.


 The Palestinians want an Islamic Jerusalem. At least according to the hundreds of posters on the walls.

Israeli police in the Arab Quarter. 
Without the cops and the army, more Jews would get attacked by Palestinians.

How do you recognize Jewish property in the Arab Quarter ?
You look for a Mezuzah, an Israeli flag, a bullet - proofed door and security cameras.
Sometimes the Muslim neighbours don't allow a Mezuzah or a flag and then you only find plenty of security cameras in the area. Every Jewish house has Jewish inhabitants and the Arabs hate that.

A Jewish house inside the Christian Quarter.
Many centuries ago, Jews started buying houses in the area. Why shouldn't they ? Jerusalem is a Jewish city. We can understand that Muslims live here but what actually do the Christians have to do with Jerusalem ? They don't belong here !
In the past, Christian priests told their followers to attack the Jewish neighbours.

The inside of the house. "Ateret Cohanim" would like to place sixty families into the house, as it is so large. The Christian neighbours, however, went to court and the court stopped the settling of the house. In the meantime, only a few families live there. The house also includes a Yeshiva.

The children living in the house served us visitors cold drinks.

Christian idol - worship stores around the Jewish house.

Photos: Miriam Woelke

1 comment:

  1. FYI

    the "poster" in Arabic only announces the name of the resident and that he just came back from pilgrimage in Mecca.

    unlike the Hebrew graffitis that are spread around all over East and West Jerusalem, according to which "Kahane was right!" (meaning all Arabs are to be deported from the city), there are no "posters" or stickers or graffitis anywhere in the city according to which Jerusalem is a Muslim-only city.