UPDATE 11 am Israeli time Friday:
No Palestinian rockets or mortars have struck southern Israel overnight. Not that there were no attempted launches–according to Hamas, one missile blew up upon take off in Gaza.
The IDF continues its destruction of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. This morning, Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein has accused so-called “Defense” Minister Barak of destroying the homes as part of Barak’s pandering for “left-wing” votes in the coming election.
The fact is that Barak has to pander for all the votes that he can. Polls taken in the last few days show that Barak and his “Independence Party” may not even get enough votes in the upcoming January election to have representation in the Knesset. In other words, Barak would be thrown out in the cold. All your humble servant can say is: “Good riddance.”
Regular readers of this blog may recall that your humble servant mentioned last week that he was going to Jerusalem–and specifically to its “eastern” neighborhoods. My purpose was not sightseeing.
Specifically, I am spending the summer and Fall documenting the situation on the ground in order to better answer the preposterous canards that the BDS and other anti-Israel forces attack us with all the time.
Today, I am going to take you on a ride on the Jerusalem Light Rail train system–one of the main focuses of the BDS attack . On our trip to Jerusalem last week, my wife and I rode every millimeter of the system and stopped at every stop along the way. Below is a map of the system (with apologies for how it is squeezed onto the page):
To understand the system, all you have to know is that one track goes toward Heil Ha-Avir (the name of the Air Force base there), and the other parallel track in the opposite direction toward Mt. Herzl.
Last Tuesday, we drove into Jerusalem, parked our car across the street from the Central Bus Station (see map), and took the train headed toward “Heil Ha-Avir”.
As you can see, our route took us southeast through central Jerusalem past Machane Yehuda (Jerusalem’s famous “shuk”-markeplace), down the hill past Davidka and King George to Safra Square (Jerusalem’s “administrative” district).
As you can see, the train then turns to the northeast along Hatzahhanim Road with a stop about 100 meters from the Damascus Gate of the Old City before turning due north at the Shivtei Israel stop. From this point all the way to Heil Ha-Avir, we are in what the international community likes to call “Arab East Jerusalem”. The only problems are that this area is not predominantly “Arab-only” by any stretch of the imagination and certainly not “East”.
For example, the first stop on this section is “Shimeon Hatzaddiq” (Simon the Righteous)–an extremely old Jewish neighborhood that dates back to the time of the 2nd Jewish Temple–intertwined with the Arab Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood which began some 1500 years later.
Approximately 75% of the people getting on and off the train with us at this stop were religious Jews (men wearing kipas and bewigged women with long dresses). The other approximately 25% were Arabs.
The next stop is Ammunition Hill (Givat Hatachmoshet) which is between Ramat Eshkol and French Hill. The site of one of the bloodiest battles in the 1967 war, Ammunition Hill is now the main IDF induction center in Jerusalem complete with a museum and memorials to those Israeli paratroopers who died there. Who got on and off the train with us? The same as at the previous stop.
The next stop is French Hill–which is also the stop for the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and for Mt. Scopus. Lots of students were getting on and off the train at this point–both Arabs and Jews. More than 10% (2000 students) of the student population of the Hebrew University is Arab.
The train continues north with three consecutive stops in the Shu’afat area–where King Abdullah of Jordan convinced the United Nations to build a settlement in 1964 to house all the Palestinians he wanted to kick out of the Old City. The international community likes to call Shuafat a “refugee camp”, but as usual there is another side of the story:
At these three stops the demography dramatically changes with mostly Arabs riding the train–but again, not without religious Jews also getting on and off with us at every stop.
Your humble servant would like to point out that most people along the way (Jews and non-Jews) did not like having their pictures taken–especially religious Jews and Arabs.
From here until the end of the line are two predominantly Jewish communities, Yekutiel Adam and Pisgat Zeev (Pisgat Zeev encompasses the last three stops including Duchifat and Heil Ha-Avir). Here the demography changes again with mostly Jews entering and exiting–but not without Arabs also.
Pisgat Zeev is home to approximately 50,000 secular and religious Jews–and to some 1,500 Arabs.
Pisgat Zeev is more like a city than a neighborhood:
Does the above picture really look like a “settlement”?
So what have we learned from our short trip today?
1. There is no such thing as “Arab East Jerusalem.” The Jewish and “Arab” neighborhoods are inextricably intertwined.
2. The so-called “Arab” neighborhoods have Jews living in them, and the so-called “Jewish neighborhoods” have Arabs living in them. There is no such thing as an “Arab only” neighborhood or a “Jewish only” neighborhood.
3. There are no such things as “settlements” on either side. Vast, fully developed communities dot the municipal landscape.
4. The Jerusalem Light Rail Train system is heavily used by Arabs and Jews alike. There is no discrimination whatsoever.
Tomorrow we will continue on our trip in Jerusalem unless events intervene.
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