Court victory for Yemenite Sanctified Trust


More Jews to hopefully return to Shiloach. 

In yet another legal victory for the Yemenite Sanctified Trust Committee, the courts basically ruled in favor of “historical justice” and for the return of Jews to the old Yemenite neighborhood of Shiloach.

A number of years ago, after 7-8 years in court, the Supreme court of Israel, ruled that a few Arab families were illegally squatting in an old Yemenite Synagogue Complex. This was PART OF THE YEMENITE SANCTIFIED TRUST (5500 sq mtrs).

This amazing court ruling, not only returned the Synagogue (Ohel Shlomo) to the Sanctified Trust, but it also opened up the possibility of returning other properties in the Trust to its rightful heirs. And hence a process was started by the Hekdesh (Sanctified Trust Committee) to redeem and reclaim many other buildings on Hekdesh property.

Today there are approximately 20-25 buildings housing close to 600 Arabs squatters, who are illegally living in the Hekdesh. The Sanctified Trust committee went beyond the letter of the dry law and made it quite clear in the courts, that even though the Arabs are illegal squatters, the Trust is still prepared to pay a compensation to them.

To remind our readers – The Yemenite Village was established in 1882 and its peak, there were at least 144-150 families (Mainly Yemenite and also some Sefaradim) living in the neighbourhood. This was well before it became a hostile Arab neighbourhood of Silwan. Arab pogroms and riots coupled with an inept British Authority and Police who were unwilling and unable to protect the Jews and their properties, effectively drove out the Jews from the Shiloach. In August of 1938, British authorities removed the last 35-40 Yemenite families from the area with a written promise to protect Jewish properties including the Synagogue complex. And thus the Yemenite village of Shiloach was decimated until 2004, when Ateret Cohanim backed by Israeli and overseas investors and donors helped to return Jewish life to the area.

At the same time, the Yemenite Sanctified Trust committee started working to return its properties including the old Synagogue complex. One of the buildings in the area is called Beit Yonatan, dedicated to Jonathan Pollard, who is familiar with the building and the growing Jewish community (21 families).

Sadly, some Arab families are hostile to the Jewish families and those violent clans (known by the Israeli Police) are responsible for thousands of attacks against the devoted and selfless Jews, who are at the pioneering forefront in Jerusalem. Other Arab families are quietly working with the Jewish families to make a “better” neighborhood and to encourage Municipal and Government authorities to invest in the area. This is called sovereignty. As is the presence of Police and Border Patrol Police in the area.

The issues involved are highly sensitive, but the bottom line is – Jews are returning home and historical justice is being seen. There are close to 750,000 Jews who were driven out of Arab homes and countries before and after the war of Independence. Where is their compensation and where is the historical justice for them? At least here – in the heart of Jerusalem, we are seeing the fruits of the labour of groups like Ateret Cohanim and the Yemenite Sanctified Trust Committee, who are working around the clock, to bring justice and the revival of Jewish life to areas where from Jews were once driven out.

It is hoped (maybe now a big push by these Abraham Accords-UAE…etc) that Jews and Arabs will be able to live side by side in basic coexistence in neighborhoods like Shiloach (Silwan), and that Jews will one day be able to buy freely any property in any neighborhood of OUR JERUSALEM!

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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