How Big Is The Jewish Quarter?

When Mark Twain arrived in the Holy Land in 1867 he saw a barren land with few inhabitants. His depiction of Land of Israel is as follows:

“The further we went the hotter the sun got, and the more rocky and bare, repulsive and dreary the landscape became…There was hardly a tree or a shrub any where. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country”.

While in Jerusalem he did find connection to the spiritual, he still depicted it as hardly populated. Interestingly, according to the Ottoman census already by the 1860s the population he would have found there would have been majority Jewish. This begs the question, if the Jewish population was in the majority, how big was the Jewish Quarter over 150 years ago if the Jewish population was in the majority?

In the second half of the 19th century Jewish Jerusalem was bursting at the seams. More and more Jews were streaming to Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. So much so, that by the 1880s Jews started venturing outside the walls of Jerusalem for the first time.

The Jewish population lived throughout today’s Old City and beyond. There were Jews in abundance by the Flowers Gate in the North as well as in today’s Christian Quarter. What is known as El Khaladia Street in today’s Muslim Quarter was the main street of the Jewish population.

However, this began to change when the British took over the Holy Land as they employed the quarter system we are all used to today. In the years between 1917 and 1948 a series of Arab pogroms occurred with little resistance from British authorities. This decimated the Jewish population and pushed back to the current Jewish Quarter, which was extinguished in 1948 when the Jordanian were able to take control Jerusalem’s Old City for 19 years.

Upon liberating Jerusalem in 1967, Israel reestablished what is today known as the Jewish Quarter, but kept the erroneous four quarters the British had instituted. Unfortunately this gives a false impression that Jews only lived in that area.

In order for the Jewish people to have an authentic and honest connection to their ancestral homeland, they need a very real historical account of Jerusalem. That includes fact that most of the “Christian and Muslim Quarters” were in fact Jewish not so long ago.

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.





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.