The Hekdesh -Sanctified Trust Project – “HRS” : Hugs and Returns to Shiloach

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Latest news from the Shiloach- Yerushalayim 

The Sanctified Trust of Benvenisti (Sefardi Community Council -Vaad Eidah HaSefaradi) has successfully returned an important and large property in the Shiloach (Old Yemenite Village) to its Trust.

In a Hekdesh-Sanctified Trust project referred to as “Hug & Return to Shiloach” (HRS) – the Trust managed to return the property, which is adjacent to the original Yemenite Synagogue (The Lamm – Yemenite Heritage and Synagogue complex) and where Arabs had illegally taken for themselves, squatted and used as their own private area to park their cars. 

The Jerusalem Municipality has officially allowed the Hekdesh – Sanctified Trust to establish and manage themselves a temporary “private” car park for its own use (and for those under its auspices) and for the betterment of the community on its private property until the future building project moves ahead on the Trust property.

Jewish workers and volunteers helping to enclose parking lot – image credit D. Mark

With the relevant Police backup – the Trust organized a return to the property on Monday 19th February. 

Some of the local Arabs started rioting and objected with force, but the Police were on hand, to keep the civil order and quiet. 

It should be noted that the neighbourhood of Shiloach (Silwan) has seen thousands of attacks (molotov cocktails and stone barrages) by some of the Hamas affiliated local Arabs in the area on the Jewish homes and families over the years. 

Stage one of “hugging” the property is to fence off the area and then eventually to turn the property into a formal and safe car park, which will service the Trust members, workers of the adjacent Synagogue restoration project, Police vehicles and if spaces remain, also for both Jews and Arabs of the neighborhood.

Jewish construction workers and volunteers working on the new fence – image credit D. Mark

(For those who wish to help financially and be involved with this most important shiloach project should make contact with the trust via Ateret Cohanim who will forward your contact details)

“This is a special day of joy in the Jewish month of Adar, for the Trust, and for the Jewish families in the Shiloach. Returning control of Jewish owned property and seeing law and order as opposed to illegal Arab squatters doing as they please in the old Yemenite Village of Shiloach is a wonderful sign of Jewish or Israeli sovereignty. It has also no doubt brought a smile in the heavens to those Yemenite Jews who were driven and removed from the neighbourhood close to 90 years ago”, says Daniel Luria – the executive director of Ateret Cohanim that helps with needy families and Yeshiva students in the neighbourhood.

The original Benvenisti Sanctified Trust property in the Shiloach (5000 +sq mtrs) included the Synagogue, other public buildings and homes for poor Yemenite and Sefardi Jews who lived in the area from 1882 onwards. 

Sadly and due to the violent Moslem Arab riots and pogroms of the 1920s and 1930s, coupled with the British Authorities inability and/or incompetence, who “temporarily” evicted the Jewish families from the Shiloach in August of 1938  – the flourishing Jewish community of the Shiloach Village was decimated. It became the Arab neighbourhood of Silwan.

The Committee of Yemenite Revival of the Shiloach, in association with Ateret Cohanim- managed to reestablish Jewish life in the Shiloach in 2004.The first two buildings were Beit HaDvash and Beit Yonatan. (Dedicated to Jonathan Pollard)

Since then – the Trust and Committee for the Shiloach renewal, has managed to “Hug & Return” other properties in the area, and today – there are over 40 Jewish families that have returned to the original Yemenite Village of Shiloach.

The parking lot next to the Beit Knesset with workers and volunteers – image credit D. Mark
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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