Last Remaining Neighborhood in Muslim Quarter No Longer Off-Limits to Jews

It may not seem large, but the small Jewish property recently renovated is the first such reacquisition in this part of the Muslim quarter since Arab rioters forced Jews out in the 1920’s.  With its low ceilings and shared coutyard with the neighboring Arab family, the new/old property already hosts yeshiva boys.  Unlike other reacquired properties, the newest one is considered a direct security risk for those who have dared to move in.


That has not deterred Jerusalem’s modern day pioneers from pushing forward and filling of the property with the new move culminating in a prayer session within the ancient ceilings.

First Mincha minyan in the most recently-reclaimed Jewish-owned house in the Old City of Jerusalem!

Posted by Ben Packer on Sunday, November 20, 2016

In recent months those who ventured to check on the property met with violence from locakl Arabs as gangs of Arab youth often times threw rocks, even injuring one young Jewish student.  Other times they threatened to kill and maim those who dared to walk down their streets.  The neighborhood is known as such a violent area that even Israeli border police don’t venture there.  After today that all changed.  With new Jewish residents, Israeli security forces are obligated to protect the residents ensuring their safety.

“It was the last remaining area of the Old City that was off-limits to Jews – no longer. Now Jews can walk proudly through every alley!” states Rabbi Ben Packer of the Heritage House.

Posted by Ben Packer on Sunday, November 20, 2016

Break the BDS


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.





Ending the Arab Occupation of Al-Haleddiya St.

Al-Haleddeyi St. may seem like an unlikely location for the next stage of Jewish growth in Jerusalem, but this small street that descends from the Christian quarter to Ha Gai Street into what most consider the Muslim quarter, is experiencing an influx of Jewish residents.

Once considered the main street in the Jewish quarter, Al-Haleddeyi St. known first as Hevron Street, because of the high percentage of Jewish residents, saw its Jewish residents driven out in waves between 1929 and 1937. Many of the Old City Rabbis lived on it, including Rav Diskin. At its peak it had 1,299 Jewish residents and was a bustling center of Jewish life in the late 1800 and early 1900’s.   

Now, with organizations like Ateret Cohanim as well as private individuals, cases amounting to squatting are getting reexamined by the courts.  One by one, properties that belonged to Jewish communal boards are being returned to their former Jewish owners or caretaker committees.


“We aren’t a banana republic and so if our very respected legal system and courts rule that the Arabs don’t have rights in the complex or that they have to vacate the premises, then so be it,” says Daniel Luria, executive director of Ateret Cohanim. “The same court system that backed the government and gave its stamp of approval to expel and relocate 10,000  Jewish residents and citizens from Gush Katif, should also be respected and adhered in these cases inside the Old City of Jerusalem. Behind the court case is really a story of Jews being driven from the area in the 1920s and 1930s by Arabs and their return to the area in these times. “

This past week I had the opportunity to see first hand one of the newest acquisitions on Al-Haleddeyi St. As I walked onto Al-Haleddeyi St,. Sam Goodman, a local activist and I turned left and then a quick right.  Arabs paid no attention to us as we veered into a small courtyard belonging to an unassuming building.  “This is resting on the Hekdesh [Jewish Communal Property],” Sam says to me as we walk straight ahead into the bottom of the building. “Above us are still Arabs, with one Jewish family on top as well. We all get along.”

The apartment is dark and in need of renovations.  The former occupants left most of their belongings behind before they left.  Unlike typical acquisitions that involve a buyer, seller, and often a few middlemen, apartments that change hands due to a court decision can be far more chaotic in terms of entry.

Interior of newest Jewish home on Al-Haleddiya St.
Interior of newest Jewish home on Al-Haleddiya St.

The apartment Sam and I were standing in went back to the courts several times, but like most of the houses on Al-Haleddeyi St. the evidence of land theft and squatting on the part of the Arab population was incontrovertible.

Up and down Al-Haleddeyi St. more and more Jews are moving in. Israeli flags can be seen out the windows and on the rooftops.  The bustling of Jews is beginning to return. In many ways the quarter system, enacted by the British is being busted apart.  Each new acquisition and court case that goes in favor of the Jews returns the city back to its original state, where a decolonization of Western backed Arab land theft is undone

For now Sam lives in the apartment, standing guard until renovations are complete.  “Once there is a family that wants to move in, I’ll move out.  My job is complete.”  In fact since I saw it, the apartment already has a waiting list and more court cases are pending. Jewish life is returning to Al- Haleddeyi St. Perhaps in a not too distant future it will be renamed Hevron St. as it once was known.