Braving Arab Riots and US Criticism, Jews Return to Silwan

After similar move last month evoked criticism, nine Jewish Yemenite families return to Jerusalem neighborhood ancestors expelled from.

By Oranit Etzer, Ari Yashar, INN

SilwanAfter a similar move last month led to American condemnation and Arab riots, nine Jewish families on Sunday night moved into their homes in Jerusalem’s Shiloach (known as Silwan by local Arabs) neighborhood.

The neighborhood is located adjacent to the City of David, an area thought to be the heart of the Jewish capital in Biblical times located just south of the Old City.

Jerusalem Councilman Arieh King told Arutz Sheva on Monday morning that the families took residency in nine housing units in “Beit Ovadia” and “Beit Frumkin,” located in the “Yemenite Village” area of Shiloach that was founded by Jewish immigrants from Yemen in the 1880s, who were later expelled by the British in 1938 following violent Arab rioting.

“This morning the Jewish population in the Yemenite Village doubled,” announced King. “The Jerusalem Municipality and the government of Israel should learn that it is possible to do a lot for the settling of Jerusalem, and they should focus on actions and not words.”

On his Facebook page, King wrote “good news from the sector of our Yemenite brothers, who this morning returned to their homes in the Yemenite Village. Around 80 years have passed since the Yemenites living in the Yemenite Village (in central Silwan) fled for their lives – this morning, their descendants returned to two of the properties.”

“Congratulations to those engaging in this holy endeavor, I hope the rate ofpopulation growth in the Yemenite Village continues to rise,” added King.

What “occupation”?

As noted, a similar move occurred on September 30 when dozens of Jewish families moved into the neighborhood.

Despite the fact that they had purchased the houses legally in a neighborhood of the capital of Israel, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said “the US condemns the recent occupation of residential buildings in the neighborhood of Silwan.”

Earnest also said the new residents have an “agenda [that] only serves to escalate tensions.” His usage of the word “occupation” in describing the legal taking possession of ownership sparked ire among Jewish organizations and in Israel.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded saying “Arabs in Jerusalem buyapartments and no one bothers them. By the same token, I’m not going to tell Jews not to buy in Jerusalem, including in Silwan. We cannot have discrimination; this approach is unacceptable to me.”

King has been leading the push for retaining the Jewish nature of Jerusalem in his post as Jerusalem councilman, a position that ran him afoul of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat after King petitioned against Barkat’s plan to build 2,500 Arab housing units in Al-Sawahira Al-Gharbiyya where 3,000 illegal units already exist – in response, Barkat dismissed King from his coalition posts.

The councilman has charged that between Netanyahu’s current freeze on Jewish building amid a severe housing crisis, and Barkat’s advance of Arab building and lack of enforcement against rampant illegal Arab construction, the two are leading to a de facto division of the capital.


October 20, 2014 | 1 Comment »

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