11 Jewish families move into J'lem neighborhood of Silwan
Before dawn on Tuesday, 11 Jewish families moved into two buildings in the East Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of Silwan, in an area known as Yemenite Village and over the protests of the Arab residents of one of the buildings.
Most of the families moved into a new six-story building recently erected by an Arab contractor and bought during the construction by people close to "The Committee for the Renewal of the Yemenite Village in Shiloah." They were helped by the Ateret Cohanim yeshiva, which is located in the Old City and has long been active in acquiring properties in the Old City and East Jerusalem for Jews.
Shiloah is the Hebrew name for Silwan, and the Yemenite Village (Harat al-Yaman) was inhabited by Yemenite Jews until 1938, when rioting forced them out. At its largest, that community numbered 150 families.
The new building, in the village's southern corner, is being called "Beit Yonatan," for convicted American-Jewish spy Jonathan Pollard. The other building, being called Beit Dvash (Honey House) is next door and was bought from Arabs who resided in it up until a few years ago.
The families are almost all young couples, and the move was coordinated with the security services. During the move, neighbors from Silwan attacked the new tenants with rocks and three police were injured. Six of the Arab rioters were arrested. During a search of neighboring houses, police found a stockpile of Molotov cocktails, apparently prepared to throw at the new neighbors.
The organizations behind the move plan to occupy other buildings, as well. A month ago, 16 families connected to Elad, which focuses on moving Jews into the City of David neighborhood, moved into a building in the City of David, which was acquired from its Arab owners. The strategy is to create a contiguous Jewish presence from the City of David to Silwan and "Maale Hazaytim," the Jewish neighborhood in Ras al-Amud.
There are now some 50 Jewish families in the City of David-Silwan area, as well as a kollel (a yeshiva for married men), and a visitor's center.
A Silwan resident claimed yesterday that he bought one of the buildings occupied by the Jewish families, but the former owner has apparently left the country.