Can “Silicon Wadi” Provide A Working Model For A United Jerusalem?
Despite the uproar by the usual faux “Palestinian” Arab elitists, “Silicon Wadi” is moving towards approval. Silicon Wadi is an ambitious plan to transform the dilapidated industrial zones just outside the Eastern Walls of the Old City in the Arab neighborhood of Wadi Joz to a number.
“Silicon Wadi” is part of the government’s five-year plan to reduce socio-economic gaps and for economic development in east Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Municipality released a statement that this is one of the “most complicated” projects carried out in Jerusalem in the past few decades, with the aim of “bringing about change at both the municipal and national levels.”
According to the Jerusalem municipality Silicon Wadi’s aim is to bring 10,000 quality employment places in east Jerusalem thus strengthening trust between the population of east Jerusalem and the municipality. Silicon Wadi’s employment projections are focused on hiring more eastern Jerusalem women, something that is currently lacking. The project will also strengthen the status of the Israeli curriculum in east Jerusalem as a key to higher education and employment.
Often times we lose site of our goals in Jerusalem and the Land of Israel by getting caught up with frontline activism. Ateret Cohanim has always seen its role as a multi step process that first restores historically Jewish areas to its original inhabitants. This is because historical justice is key in creating real conversations between Jews and Arabs. It is essential for coexistence to take place.
Every Jewish family that moves into a house within any of the four quarters of Jerusalem or in Kfar Shiloach (known outside of Israel as Silwan) isn’t doing so as an occupier or usurper or even an obstacle to peace, but rather as a messenger that only by living side by side can there be a hope of dialogue and peace.
Of course living side by side is one step in the process. The next is community development. Gardens, sidewalks, business, playgrounds, and more expresses true sovereignty. This is the opposite of what has happened in the past, when places in eastern Jerusalem appeared broken down and in a state of disrepair.
Silicon Wadi is an important step for Jerusalem. It is also the same step that Ateret Cohanim as the cities oldest Urban Pioneers has championed from the beginning.