Newest Purchase In The Shiloach Heights Is A Game Changer

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When Ateret Cohanim facilitated acquisition of two large buildings on the top of the Shiloach (Silwan) just before Ramadan, it was an earthquake. Not only do the properties have commanding views of the entire area, but for the first time they linked up with the scattered Jewish population below, carving out a thin but contiguous line of Jewish residents through the center of what has become Arab “Silwan.”

This is of course was one of the reasons falsely claimed to be a trigger for the Ramadan Riots. Sure, the surprise must have shocked the Arabs living nearby, but the purchase had by no means been the reason behind the riots.

Although 15 Jewish families moved into the Shiloach Heights since the purchase, the project had still been missing a crucial piece – completion. Beit Yosef – the largest of the two buildings, sits adjacent to a smaller building. Half of the building was included in the purchase, but the other half belonged to a different family.

Without the complete purchase of the building, Beit Yosef would be another lone enclave, whose only claim of strategic grandeur would be as a connection down to Beit Frumkin.

The key to building sustainable communities is a robust sense of cohesiveness – a blending of unified purpose. In the case of Shiloach Heights, the second half of the building became integral to the strategic value of the original purchase.

Thankfully, after months of searching for a buyer, Ateret Cohanim was able to facilitate the final purchase this week – nearly completing what has become the Shiloach Heights. This latest acquisition is so much more than an apartment – it sets the stage for a real solidification for the newest Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem.

With a strong nucleus of buildings, the Shiloach Heights serves two purposes. It dips down into a series of disconnected Jewish residences often swallowed up in the tangled maze of Arab homes – built mostly on stolen Jewish property and ultimately drawing them out from within Arab Silwan. Shiloach Heights gives a new ordered accessibility to an otherwise inaccessible set of Jewish homes.

Secondly, the Shiloach Heights stands on its own, an independent Jewish neighborhood, prepared to spread outward along the spine of the hill – lurching towards the Maale Zeitim in hopes of one day connecting.

Shiloach Heights is fast becoming a realized myth – a neighborhood unto itself – an edifice of light in a sea that was once filled with darkness.

David Mark
Article by David Mark

David heads up outreach, education, and communications for Ateret Cohanim. Combining short films and articles, he has succeeded in spreading Ateret Cohanim's powerful message to new audiences.


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