82 Years Later, There Is Justice In The Shiloach


In August 1938, the British authorities abandoned the old Yemenite Village of Shiloach and left the Yemenite and Sefardi families without protection. The village was ransacked and the Synagogue desecrated by marauding hate filled Arabs. Six months later in January of 1939, one of the well known Shiloach residents, Shlomo Madmoni tried to return to the village to salvage a Sefer Torah. He was brutally murdered on the way back to the village by Arabs.

Today, in January 2021 – 82 years later, in the Jewish State of Israel and with Israeli policemen standing nearby – Shlomo Madmoni’s children and grandchildren said Kaddish and stood around the memorial plaque placed where Rav Shlomo was killed.We have indeed come full circle and the redemption process is well on its way.Thanks to the efforts of Ateret Cohanim in conjunction with the Hekdesh  (Sanctified Trust) Committee and the Committee for the renewal of Jewish life in the Shiloach, Jewish life has been reinstated to the area, with 23 Jewish families living in the thriving, yet fledgling Jewish neighbourhood.

And one day, G-d willing, we hope that the original Synagogue complex (Ohel Shlomo) will be restored to its previous glory, and the sweet sounds of Torah learning and prayers will be once again heard throughout Jerusalem.

We have indeed returned home to the Shiloach and “Shlomo Madmoni” lives on !!!

Picture of Rachamim Madmoni (son of the murdered father Shlomo Madmoni January 1939) on tour in Shiloach with Ateret Cohanim – January 2021. (Entering the redeemed Beit Knesset complex)

In 1882 – Yemenite Jews following a dream and biblical texts, made the difficult trek to the Holy Land of Israel as part of the unfolding Redemption process.

At its peak there over 140 Yemenite families living in the Yemenite Village of Kfar HaShiloach.

Later  – Arabs settled in the area, as happened throughout Israel when Jews started to develop lands and areas.

Sadly – The village was decimated by rioting Arabs and over the years, the Arabs either squatted in Jewish buildings or physically destroyed many buildings and then rebuilt on Jewish property. 

In the years 1942-45, many Arabs had literally taken apart buildings and had stolen everything from floor tiles, roof tiles, taps, building stones, window and door frames..etc.

Decimated Synagogue and surrounding Yemenite Jewish neighborhood

One of the few buildings that remained in its entirety, was the original Synagogue (Beit Knesset Ohel Shlomo), that was located in the Yemenite Hekdesh (Sanctified Yemenite Communal property). As expected, it was one of the first buildings established in the Village by Yemenite Jews in 1885. (Once again remembering that the very first Jews from Yemen arrived to Jerusalem in 1882, BEFORE A SINGLE ARAB WAS LIVING IN THE AREA AND BEFORE SILWAN OF TODAY.)

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

Many letters of protest were written to the British Authorities but to no avail. Arabs simply illegally squatted in the old Synagogue, as they did in many other buildings in the original Hekdesh (Benvenisti) and in privately owned Yemenite homes.

In addition to squatting in Yemenite homes, there has been blatant and rampant illegal Arab building in the area, including in the actual Sanctified Trust-Hekdesh itself, which covers a large swath of land in the old Yemenite Village.(This”Benvenisti Sanctified Trust-Hekdesh” is a well defined area, that has already been recognized by the Israeli court system, including the Supreme Court, during the court proceedings about the illegal Arab squatters in the Synagogue complex.

The following prose-poem (Translated from Hebrew) was written by Chana Dik (resident of Beit Yonatan – Shiloach-Old Yemenite Village Jerusalem) following the unique visit of the family of Shlomo Madmoni hy”d, who was murdered 82 yrs ago by Arabs (January 1939) , when he tried to return to the Jewish neighbourhood to salvage the Sifrei Torah after the Arab riots of 1938 and after the forced eviction of the Jewish Yemenite and Sefardi families by the British Authorities in August of 1938.

Aba – I’m here
Yes me – your son.
I have arrived here.
Aba – know that the Beit Knesset is alive.
That the Aron Kodesh is full of Sifrei Torah.
Jewish life has returned and is flourishing and joyous.
Full of belief.(Emunah)

Your steps and attempts to return, has been completed by all these.
Step after step.
Stone after stone.
House after house.
Court ruling after court ruling.
And now we are here.

Aba – you saw from afar but never arrived. They wouldn’t let you.
I was orphaned at the tender age of 4.
Alone and without you.
Your blood was spilled like milk and we cried.
And remember.

The Jewish People did not forget !
And the illegal squatters also remember, but pretend.
They murdered, pillaged and “inherited”.
Yet their falsified claims hold no water.

Aba – we did not forget your teachings and Torah.
I am here.
And so too is your granddaughter and great grandson.
And your granddaughter overseas.
We have arrived in peace.

A deaf visitor holds his walker and is supported by “the” Cohen.(Mati Dan)
A crown (Atara – from the words Ateret Cohanim) for our heads merits to continue on your path.
To redeem and rebuild.
The past and future merge together.
Intrinsically bound with love to the holy earth.

You were without security and protection.
You were murdered in cold blood.
But today – families and community behind me.
Close knit security personnel on the right.
Government minister on my left.
And the Divine Presence above my head.
Smiling with pride.
Valley of Hinom smiling in joy and pride.
Mount of Olives smiling in joy and pride!

Yonatan (Pollard) has returned.
Madmoni has returned.
And our nation has returned to her borders.
I am thankful for being witness to the revival.
And I’m grateful for being part of the return of Hashem to Z

Interesting Question – how long would Jews last if they were living-“squatting” in an 100 yrs old mosque?).

Article by Daniel Luria

Daniel Luria is the Executive Director and International Spokesman for Ateret Cohanim. He is considered a global expert on Jerusalem, with a focus on urban land reclamation initiatives. he is a sought after speaker, guide, and informal educator in relation to his work in Jerusalem.

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