Reclaiming Jerusalem’s Old City

At around 7:30 p.m. on Saturday evening (October 3, 2015), a knife-wielding Arab attacked Aharon Bennett, his wife Odel, their 2-year-old son and infant who were on their way to pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City. Hearing the screams of help from Odel Bennett, from his apartment window, Rabbi Nehemia Lavi, an Old City resident and IDF reserve officer, didn’t hesitate, and went downstairs from his apartment in Beit Wittenberg (HaGai Street), with his gun, to try and save those wounded by the Arab terrorist in the attack, but the terrorist stabbed him and seized his weapon. Lavi and Bennett, who were stabbed in the upper body and were unconscious when paramedics arrived at the scene, died in hospital shortly afterwards.

Now, over 7 months later, another Jewish acquisition in Jerusalem’s Old City, facilitated by the Ateret Cohanim organization has been approved by legal authorities.

“Arab terror and ongoing Arab incitement and violence, has an aim of  trying to drive Jews out of Jerusalem, to keep Jews away from the Old City, the Temple Mount and even the Kotel, and also intends to weaken the resolve of the Jewish people, especially of the families and students in and around the Old City,” says Daniel Luria, Executive Director of Ateret Cohanim. “However the Arab are mistaken on all fronts. We will not be driven out of “our Jerusalem” and such acts of violence has only strengthened our resolve, strength of conviction, faith and fortitude.”

The building will be home to 3 or 4 Jewish families and some Yeshiva students. There are today over 1000 Jewish residents, including many Yeshiva students, of the old Jewish Quarter,(renamed the Moslem Quarter) in addition to the 4000 Jewish residents of the Jewish Quarter.

The newest acquisition is only a few minutes walk from the site of the murder of Rabbi Lavi and Bennett.  Building and buying in the Old City in areas where Jews were driven out in 1929, 1936-37, and 1948 is not only a powerful and lasting response to ongoing Arab terror, it is the best way to honor the memory of the fallen residents, especially the week of Israeli Memorial Day and Independence Day.

“It’s a spectacular accomplishment and it will hopefully lead to many more in the near future,” adds Rabbi Packer head of the Heritage House. “The Arabs are ready to leave. The question is: Are the Jews ready to take possession of the Land.”


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.


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.

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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