[watch] Mike Huckabee Receives Award for his Defense of Jerusalem

Israel Rising was privileged to be invited to an intimate gathering with Mike Huckabee and the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce.  Mike Huckabee has been one of the most outspoken friends of the Jewish people and Israel. With this being 50 years since the liberation of Jerusalem, 100 years after the Balfour Declaration, and 150 years since the visit of Mark Twain to jerusalem, it was fitting for the award to be given in the very place where Mark Twain stayed on his journey to the Holy Land.  It was this trip and the travel log “Innocents Abroad” that launched Twain’s career.



Arabs Vandalize a Newly Resettled Jewish Building in the Old City

In an ongoing campaign of incitement and intimidation, Arabs vandalized one of the newly resettled Jewish properties in the Old Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City.  In a neighborhood, minutes from the Mark Twain house also known as Beit Wittenberg, the words “Death to Jews” were spray painted on the entry way to the building known as the House of the View due to its magnificent overlook of the Temple Mount.

The Old Jewish quarter housed a large amount of Jewish families up until the pogroms of the 1920s, 1930s, and the Jordanian occupation in 1948, when the Jordanians made the Old City Judenrein.  Today the Old Jewish Quarter is known to the world as the “Muslim Quarter” due to the influx of Muslim Arab squatters that settled in formerly Jewish properties after the Jewish residents were forced out.

More and more Jews are moving back to historically Jewish areas which has rattled many of the negative elements on the Arab street. “These sorts of actions and threats are what Jewish residents in these neighborhoods face on a constant basis. This is why we are in great need of security cameras and a reenforced security door for tis building,” Daniel Luria, Executive Director of Ateret Cohanim said about the incident.

Ateret Cohanim facilities the restoration of previously owned Jewish properties as well as reclaiming former Jewish neighborhoods in and around Jerusalem’s Old City. It also works to provide security and coordinates protection and safety measures with the government.

In an ironic twist, many Arab residents of these areas welcome the Jewish presence as it forces the Jerusalem municipality to deal with the many infrastructure issues and neighborhood crime that had been overlooked for years.





A Widow Returns Home

Yesterday, Neta Lavi came “home” to her wider “family” of friends, the Old City youth and the general Ateret Cohanim community.
Yesterday, Neta and her family saw the empathy, the resilience, the strength and the power of the youth of the Old City…and of Am Yisrael, the Jewish People. She acknowledged the youthful group as did her mother-inlaw and Nechemiah’s mother..
Songs of Jerusalem, the soul of the Jewish People, never to despair, and songs of faith were sung by over 100 boys and girls on the main thoroughfare of the Old City, for hours into the late afternoon and evening. Words of wisdom from the previous Chief Rabbi Amar uplifted all who attended.
Yesterday, Neta was given a very warm and teary hug from Tali Kerman whose husband Chaim hy’d, was murdered by an Arab terrorist, 17 years ago in a nearby alleyway, also in the Old City. In that embrace, each tried to console and give strength to one another. Those two special, brave, resolute and regal ladies alone, could truly understand the loss, the pain and the struggle. They were in their own world for those few moments.
Many in the crowd breathed deeply, sighed and some even cried.
If emotions could speak – the words spoken were ” I know, i feel for you, and we will not be broken” !!.
The Arabs may have cruelly taken the life of Rav Nechemiah hy’d. YES – They may have sent a pure person, a husband, a son and father, a Torah Jew who lived, breathed and taught Torah, from this world ………..BUT they can never take the soul/spirit or land from Am Yisrael-the Jewish People.
We will not be disheartened or crushed. We will not be driven from Jerusalem or from Israel.
This son – the true son of Abraham, the “lion of Judah”, who was given this beautiful Land of Israel by G-d, has returned home, and we are here to stay.


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.