Ir Amim Leads Arabs Against Jewish Property Rights In Jerusalem Neighborhood

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Radical left wing group Ir Amim lead Arabs from Shiloach in yet another lawsuit against the old Yemenite Hekdesh.

It seems that these difficult Corona times hasn’t dulled the radical left wing senses of Ir Amim. The group who have been at loggerheads with the Jewish Zionist pioneering movement since its inception, is once again leading Arabs in yet another legal battle against those who are working in urban development and coexistence. In yet another attack against Ateret Cohanim and the Sanctified Trust of the Shiloach (Hekdesh), Ir Amim is showing its true colors once again.

Preferring to defend illegal Arab squatters and justify Arabs who drove out Jews from the Shiloach – Ir Amim has joined forces with a number of Arabs (many from Rajabi clan and some with their own history of violence and attacks against the Jewish families and with police records) to challenge the Committee of the Hekdesh.

Using the “friendly” and open Israeli legal system, Ir Amim will stop at nothing to ensure that illegal Arab squatters stay on old Yemenite properties in the middle of Shiloach. 

G-D willing and hopefully, as with previous failed attempts by the radical left – the truth will once again be exposed and urban pioneering and development will continue in the area by the Yemenite Hekdesh (Sanctified Trust) and by Ateret Cohanim.

A quick reminder to our readers: 

1. Before a single Arab was living in the area, Yemenite and Sefardi Jews lived in the area known as Kfar HaShiloach or Kfar HaTeimanim in the Shiloach. The first Yemenite Jews arrived in 1881-82 and the first public buildings including the original Beit Knesset were established by 1885.

2. At its peak close to 150 Yemenite Jewish families lived in the area. (Later to be called Silwan as Arabs came to live in the area and drove out the Jews.)

3. Pogroms of 1928-29, but mainly in 1936-38 decimated the Jewish life in the area.

4. British authorities refused to defend the Jews in the area and in fact in August 1938, the British evacuated the neighborhood, and removed the last 35-40 Jewish families with a promise that the Jews would be able to shortly return.

5. Arabs destroyed most of the buildings to the ground and illegally squatted in other buildings including the original Synagogue complex.

6. The area was devoid of Jews from 1938 till 2004, when Ateret Cohanim, managed to facilitate (with the help of Canadian Jewish investors) the acquisition of a couple of buildings in the area.

7. Later the original Synagogue was returned to its rightful Jewish heirs and notwithstanding attempts by Arabs to stop the move, they lost in court.

8. Today there are 22 Jewish families living in 6 buildings in the area and the original Beit Knesset is undergoing a massive restoration process. (still waiting for more donors). Urban development is happening and some form of coexistence can be seen in some instances, between some Jewish families and some moderate Arabs in the community. Unfortunately there is still too much Arab intolerance, hatred, violence, and aggression and there have been many attacks on the Jewish families from to many Arabs in the neighborhood.

9. Much of the land in the area is Hekdesh property -that is sanctified public trust land of the Yemenite Community. The Hekdesh is trying to return its properties and bring back Jewish life to the area…while at the same time help the poorer struggling families in the neighborhood.

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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