The Tourism Ministry has in recent weeks quietly replaced a visitors’ map of Jerusalem that was criticized for omitting major non-Jewish sites.
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Without acknowledging a problem with the previous version, the ministry is now providing tourists with a new map that identifies the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and important churches. In addition, it no longer denotes Jewish enclaves in predominantly Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.
Haaretz reported on the previous map in April, which was distributed by the official tourism office at Jaffa Gate in the Old City. As well as denoting almost only Jewish sites, it was full of errors and disregarded non-Jewish locations in the city.
It included 25 synagogues, yeshivas and other Jewish buildings in the Old City, most of which were connected to Ateret Cohanim, an organization that has promoted moving Jews into predominantly Palestinian neighborhoods of the city.
The previous map noted a number of buildings with a Jewish presence in the Old City’s Muslim Quarter — most of them purchased through the Ateret Cohanim organization — but omitted major Christian sites including the Via Dolorosa. It also omitted Muslim locations other than the Dome of the Rock.
In its response to the initial Haaretz report, the Tourism Ministry said it stood behind the publication of the map. However, that map has now been replaced by the revised version, which reflects tourist sites in a more balanced manner.
Buildings associated with Ateret Cohanim are not noted in the new map, but other locations — including the stations of the cross along the Via Dolorosa and Muslim sites, including Al-Aqsa Mosque — have been added.
The new map also includes corrections and eliminates the designation of the Temple Mount as Mount Moriah — a term not in regular English-language usage in modern times.
Beyond the Old City walls, the names of the Jewish enclaves at Ma’aleh Zetim and Beit Orot have been omitted and important churches on the Mount of Olives and Mount Zion added.
Daniel Seidemann, a lawyer who has been involved in advocating on behalf of Palestinians in Jerusalem, welcomed the revision. “Someone at the ministry has come to their senses,” he said. “The previous map made us an object of ridicule for visitors and raised unpleasant questions over Israel’s policy in Jerusalem.”