Arab Doctor In Hiding

It seems the doctor on staff of Kupat Cholim Leumi across the street from Beit Wittenberg at the time of the murder of Rav Nechemia Lavi and Aharon Banita is in hiding.  Why?  Although it was obvious that Adele Banita was critically injured outside he did nothing to help her. Knowing the shopkeepers in the area have been arrested for taunting and ignoring her pleas, it can be assumed that he feared he was next. It is unimaginable that a doctor who has sworn to heal the wounded would refuse to help a critically injured woman and her child.

Our answer is to keep building.

Defiance at Beit Wittenberg

Daniel Luria, Executive Director of Ateret Cohanim gives over a powerful statement in the Wittenberg House, home of the murdered Rav Nechemia Lavi. Filming took place during an interview with the Nation. Learn more about Beit Wittenberg and its current connection to the unrest.

Beit Wittenberg is the Key to Jerusalem

When walking down Hagai Street these days, the tension is palpable. Most people see the area as historically Muslim, but Hagai Street running North South to Sha’ar Shechem (Damascus Gate) had bustling Jewish population until the 1929 and 1936 riots.

Unlike the alleyways that shoot off of it, Hagai Street is a main avenue replete with shops as well as Muslim and Jewish communities. The violence in the last few days is nothing new except now it is turning deadly. Jews are being taunted, harassed, and yes stabbed to death.

I asked myself yesterday as I headed to Beit Wittenberg about the significance of why the violence seems to be circling around this specific area. True the Arab population has long been cheered into raging mobs bent on killing Jews, but why on Hagai Street and most specifically the Beit Wittenberg area.

For that a little background on the house is necessary.

Reb Moshe Wittenberg made Aliyah in 1882 at the age of 62, from the town of Wietebsk, in Belorussia. He brought with him 500,000 rubles to buy large property in Jerusalem’s Old City. With the help Eliezer ben Yehuda (the reviver of modern Hebrew) he negotiated with the Latin Church and bought the property. The property housed 20 Chabad families giving the complex renewed Jewish life.

Moshe Wittenberg died in 1899 and bequeathed the property to a communal hekdash (set aside), which was recorded by Turkish authorities. The residents continued to live their, yet were driven out in the riots that would consume Jerusalem and the Land of Israel in the decades that followed.

After being reacquired through the efforts of Ateret Cohanim, Ariel Sharon bought rights to use it as his house in order to fully demonstrate Jewish sovereignty over the Old City.

I have of course left out one exciting fact that I believe is key to understanding the central role this house and complex plays in Jerusalem’s unfolding redemption.

In recent years it has been discovered that Beit Wittenberg is in fact the same Mediterranean Hotel that Mark Twain stayed in during his visit to Israel in 1867. It was that hotel that contributed to the inspiration in the section about Israel in his memoir Innocents Abroad.

So why is this so relevant to a Jewish Jerusalem?

The memoir Innocents Abroad details the truth of the barrenness of the Land of Israel at the time of Mark Twain’s visit. It is a refutation of years of Arab propaganda that the Land of Israel had no Jews in it and was home to an indigenous Arab population. More than this, Mark Twain’s account stands as a memory of a crossroads in Jewish History, just prior to the beginning of the return of the “remnant of Israel.” It is that memory that the Arabs are attacking when they focus on the area around Beit Wittenberg.

Understanding this piece of history is key to understanding the war being raged against Jewish control in Jerusalem. It is a focused and concerted effort to wipe out not only Jewish History, but American historical dynamism in the Land of Israel that has closely united the Judea-Christian culture specific to the West and the rebirth of the Modern State of Israel.

The battleground is more than the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem or the hills of Judea and Samaria, it is in fact a war to protect the truth and facts of the past in order to use them as tools to hold onto our future.

Musrara: Battleground Jerusalem

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In this edition of Build Jerusalem’s Weekly Podcast, David Mark speaks to Build Jerusalem’s Director of Operations Shai Atanelov about life on Jerusalem’s front lines.

Rechov HaGai: Changing the Facts on the Ground

With all of the pain and sadness of the last few days some good is coming from it.  Jews of all backgrounds danced the <strong>Second Hakafot</strong> in the square where two Jewish souls were cut down. We have to stop apologizing for living in our capital.  We have stop being afraid to walk our streets.  We have to demand real Jewish leadership that will ensure steady building in neighborhoods that are vitally important for  a united Jewish Jerusalem. And yes we have to stop buying from shops whose customers and owners cheer on murderers.

Below are stirring images from last night’s rally in the Old City.

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Weekly Update: Security Deterioration, Court Cases, and More

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In this podcast Daniel and I cover the week’s events. I have to say you can literally feel the growing intensity in many of the neighborhoods in and around the Old City of Jerusalem.  Of course what is known as the Jewish the Quarter has remained calm, yet the Yemenite Village, Abu Tor, the Old Jewish Quarter (Muslim Quarter) and the City of David have experienced a tremendous uptick in terrorism.

Daniel and I also cover the current court cases and rulings on the newest Jewish acquisitions.


Great News from Kfar HaTeimanim

Very early Thursday morning…a few hours ago (TO AVOID UNNECESSARY FRICTION WITH SOME OF THE LOCAL ARABS DURING THE DAY) Jewish families and Yeshiva students entered a large premises, which is located in the old Yemenite Hekdesh in the Shiloach, on the slopes of Mt Olives overlooking the City of David and the Old City with Temple Mount.

The building is to be caled Beit Rachel.

The significant building complex is located in close proximity to all other Jewish buildings in the old Yemenite Village. (Beit HaDvash, Beit Yehonatan, Beit Frumkin and Beit Ovadia. It is also only a minutes walk from the recently redeemed sections of the original Yemenite Beit Knesset- Ohel Shlomo-Heichal Yonatan.(Named for Jonathan Pollard)

Some Basic History of the Area:
Yemenite Jews first arrived to Jerusalem in 1882. Kfar Hateimanim in the Shiloach was established. (BEFORE A SINGLE ARAB WAS LIVING IN THE AREA, which is today called Silwan by some people) At its peak 144-150 Yemenite Jewish families wereliving in the thriving and successful Yemenite Village on the slopes of Mt Zion overlooking the City of David, the Shiloach springs, the Temple Mount and the Old City.
1/ Attempt by extreme Arab elements including the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Husseini to “ethnically cleanse” Jerusalem and Israel of Jews in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Pogroms and riots throughout Jerusalem was the result.
2/ British authorities who were not willing and incapabe to protect the Jews of Shiloach, evacuated the last remaining 35-40 Yemenite families in August 1938 (77 years ago), with a promise that the JEWISH REFUGEES could shortly return to their homes. British promise never kept.
3/ Arabs squatted in private Yemenite homes and squatted in Hekdesh properties.
4/ Arabs desecrated the Yemenite Synagogues and destroyed many of the buildings in the area. (even taking stones from buildings, roof tiles, floor tiles, taps, doors, wondow frames.
In 2004 the first Jewish families returned to the old Yemenite Village.
TODAY: After 77 years, Jews have returned home, including to properties owned legally (and ratified by all Israeli courts) by the Heldesh Benvinisti.
It is hoped that Jews and Arabs will be able to live side by side with each other in peace and coexistence, like can be seen when Arabs legally move into predominantly Jewish neighbourhoods like Pisgat Zeev, Ramat Eshkol, French Hill, Armon HaNetziv. 

The Revolution Can Come At Any Moment

Revolutions come when a populace has lost the ability to make necessary change through ordinary means. Israelis from all spectrums of society feel they live in a country that has gone mad.  Prices are too high, wages are too low, infiltrators are set free, and young men are placed in administrative detention just for a set of beliefs. We should not forget the looming external threats and increasing internal security issues.

Governments come and go and yet the problems internally and externally increase. It’s true Israelis are the happiest of people and yet we all know in many ways it is a self projected veneer covering the frustration with the impossibility of change.

So where is the revolt? Where is Israel’s version of the Bastille? By now the populace should be beseiging the Supreme Court or setting fire to the Sauvignon.  Alas, there is barely an outcry save for the various community activists and organizers from the myriad of sectors making up Israeli society.

The fact is the Israeli populace is enslaved.  They are a prodct of their hopes and dreams that really the State can be their salvation.  This is statism at its finest.  The State provides and so to revolt would be suicide. Of course life has gotten more and more unbearable and the same players have put us into a situation where our very lives are at stake. But the State as we know it still stands. Make no mistake, this is the ghetto of 2015. Yet at least at the end of the Warsaw Ghetto, the Jews freed themselves of the mistaken notion that their ghetto masters would save them and decided to revolt. It was too late of course, but the point was not lost.

The political leaders of the State of Israel know the Israeli populace is tired.  They know it’s not capable of taking them to task on just about everything.  Yet the revolution that is needed is not about violence.  There is no need to storm the proverbial Bastille.  Revolutions begin far before the first shots are fired.  They begin in the minds of the populace when they dare to believe they can just walk away from their masters.

In Israel we too can walk away from the politics of the master class and redeem our Nation from its inner servitude.  We can build a true Jewish Leadership that stands up for its Nation, providing security, economy, and a Judaism that teaches love of fellow Jew with a clear pathway to fulfilling our redemptive mission.

We can begin now to disconnect from our failed leadership and rebuild our society and future.

Building In Jerusalem is Key to Our Survival

Why is Jerusalem such a conflicted place when it comes to our national direction?  There is this feeling and has been since 1967 that if we just give on something then we will reach acceptance with our neighbors and the world.  Of course we know this is not the case.  Cutting away Jerusalem is the equivelent of slicing someone’s heart in half and expecting it to still function normally.  The World knows this and so it pushes us to freeze building even in the heart of our Nation.

Building is the expression of a Nation’s health. When we build we are telling the World that our dry bones have indeed come to life.  Where we build flips the area from death to life.  Our neighborhoods are vibrant and alive brimming with families, learning, and culture.

We have come back to our capital city and in the process fulfilling the words of the prophets who have said that once again there will be people in the streets of Jerusalem.  We have a lot of work to do before our heart is completely healed, but if we want our Nation to be strong, both in the physical the spiritual, building in Jerusalem is non-negotiable.