Antisemitic Attack At The Shiloach Spring Proves The Need For A New Approach To Sovereignty In Jerusalem
For years Jews have been returning to neighborhoods on the seam line of Jerusalem and beyond, turning once homogeneous Arab neighborhoods back to the blended areas historic Jerusalem had before the Arab pogroms of the 1920s and 1930s.
These blended neighborhoods could be the vanguard of coexistence, but as anyone who has spent time in these areas knows, they are anything but the example of neighborly love.
While it is true that the Jerusalem police have done an increasingly better job of clamping down on wanton attacks in neighborhoods like the Shiloach (aka Silwan) and the City of David, the recent attack is a reminder of just how important a constant police presence is in these areas is in order to ensure normal life for all the residents.
An Unprovoked Attack
Th latest example of this was the recent antisemitic attack on a Chassidic Jew as he went to dip in the Shiloach Spring at the bottom of the City of David. The victim reported that the attacker hit him in the head, kicked and cursed and even threw him on a vehicle that was at the scene without any provocation on his part. What was the victim’s “transgression?” – going to the spring to dip into the water. Thankfully, an elderly man who passed by intervened and prevented the suspect from continuing the attack.
Haim Bleicher a lawyer with the Honenu organization, who is assisting the victim, asked the Israeli police to prosecute the suspect as soon as possible.
“Unfortunately we are experiencing an antisemitic incident in Jerusalem again. We demand that the perpetrator be brought to justice to the end in order to deter and eradicate these difficult events.”
Blended Neighborhoods: The Cornerstone of a Healthy Urban Ecosystem
While it may be easier to allow homogeneous neighborhoods to grow, these types of neighborhoods tend to stagnate, especially in areas of the Middle East where tribal politics are prevalent. Jerusalem’s health as a dynamic urban center is dependent on sovereignty being placed on these formerly Judenrein neighborhoods.
Returning these areas to their historic norm where there was always a multi-ethnic dynamic is paramount for Jerusalem’s continued growth and urban sustainability.
There are three keys to achieving this. The first and of immediate necessity is increased security. The second is more Jewish families prepared to move into the areas in and around the Holy Basin. The third are community green spaces that are designed to increase positive social interaction between the various cultural groups within the neighborhoods.
More physical open space will ultimately translate into a feeling of allowance and acceptance.
Only by developing the above dynamic can we hope to actualize the political sovereignty we already have.