A Short History of the Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood of Jerusalem


UPDATE:  Eight wanted Palestinian terror suspects were arrested by the IDF in Judea and Samaria last night in Shechem (Nablus), Ramallah, and Al-Azaria north of Bethlehem. As usual, the IAF bombed empty buildings and tunnels in Gaza last night in retaliation for the latest spate of Islamist Hamas rocket fire at the citizens of southern Israel.

TODAY’S BLOG:

A court in Jerusalem has just ordered the remand of the two Hamas terrorists who were arrested on Sunday after having lived in the Red Cross (ICRC) compound in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem for the last one and a half years.  The israelstreet blog of yesterday described how warmly the Hamas terrorists had been embraced by the ICRC.

Today, your humble servant would like to focus on the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement–which has become a cause celebre around the world. The goal of the movement is to prevent Jews from living in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem.

Just two days ago, the New Israel Fund in conjunction two local “peace” groups, sponsored a talk by one of the co-founders of the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement here in my northern California city.  Billing herself and her movement as fighting for “democracy”, the speaker absurdly accused the Israeli government of trying to steal Palestinian Arab property, evict Palestinians from their homes, and move Jews illegally into the neighborhood.

Here are some facts to arm yourself with when the Sheikh Jarrah movement comes to your locale:

1. The Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood is named for Sheikh Jarrah (Husam al-Din al-Jarrahi) who was the personal physician of Saladin. Sheikh Jarrah died in 1201 CE and was buried on Mt. Scopus–in the same area that famed Jewish leaders were buried including Shimon HaTzaddik (Simon the Just), one of the last members of the Great Assembly of the Jewish people after the Babylonian exile. Shimon HaTzaddik’s tomb on Mt. Scopus (which has been declared a ‘holy shrine’ by the United Nations) has been dated to about 310 CE.

A picture of the tomb of Shimon HaTzaddik. The tomb is in the foreground.

2. The tombs on Mt. Scopus remained undisturbed until the 1880s and 1890s when Palestinian Arabs and Jews (remember that the Jews were ‘Palestinians’ too) began to build a neighborhood there–outside the Old City Walls.

3. According to the Ottoman (Turkish Muslim) census of 1905, the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood was composed of six districts. Four of these six (Sheikh Jarrah, Hayy el-Huseini, Wadi el-Joz, Bab ez-Zahira) were Muslim. The other two districts (Shimon HaTzaddik and Nahalat Shimon) were Jewish. The Ottoman census counted 167 Muslim families, 97 Jewish families, and 6 Christian families.

4.  The situation remained fairly stable for the next 43 years with each group’s population increasing proportionately. However, on May 28, 1948 the Jordanian government, having captured the area in the Israel’s War of Independence began to ethnically cleanse the neighborhood of all non-Muslims.

5. In the mid-1950s the Jordanians began to bring more Palestinian Arabs into the neighborhood to take over the Jewish properties which had been left vacant.

6. In 1967, Israel took control of the neighborhood and immediately began the process of restoring the parts of the neighborhood that had been Jewish to their rightful owners.

On the following mapwhich was produced by a organization affiliated with the Sheikh Jarrah movementnote the areas in orange. These are the Jewish neighborhoods being restored (by legal process) to their owners.  Also note how this map ridiculously lists Sheikh Jarrah/Shimon Ha-Tzadik as if it were one entity:

The attempt to keep Jews out of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem is no different than the effort through the centuries to keep Jews out of the rest of Jerusalem.

It is doomed to fail. Jerusalem is Judaism’s holiest city and the capital of the Israel. 

THIS DAY IN ISRAELI HISTORY

On January 24, 1965, Eliahu (Ellie) Cohen–an undercover Israeli agent operating in Syria and posing as ‘Kamel Amin Tha’abet’–was arrested by Syrian secret police. He was subsequently tortured and gruesomely hanged in a public ceremony in Damascus.

Ellie Cohen, hanged in Damascus

His body was left hanging for days in an event that traumatized the Israeli public. When the full story of Cohen’s bravery became known, he became revered in Israel.

 

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