Reclaiming Jerusalem’s Old City

In Frontlines by Micha Gefen

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At around 7:30 p.m. on Saturday evening (October 3, 2015), a knife-wielding Arab attacked Aharon Bennett, his wife Odel, their 2-year-old son and infant who were on their way to pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City. Hearing the screams of help from Odel Bennett, from his apartment window, Rabbi Nehemia Lavi, an Old City resident and IDF reserve officer, didn’t hesitate, and went downstairs from his apartment in Beit Wittenberg (HaGai Street), with his gun, to try and save those wounded by the Arab terrorist in the attack, but the terrorist stabbed him and seized his weapon. Lavi and Bennett, who were stabbed in the upper body and were unconscious when paramedics arrived at the scene, died in hospital shortly afterwards.

Now, over 7 months later, another Jewish acquisition in Jerusalem’s Old City, facilitated by the Ateret Cohanim organization has been approved by legal authorities.

“Arab terror and ongoing Arab incitement and violence, has an aim of  trying to drive Jews out of Jerusalem, to keep Jews away from the Old City, the Temple Mount and even the Kotel, and also intends to weaken the resolve of the Jewish people, especially of the families and students in and around the Old City,” says Daniel Luria, Executive Director of Ateret Cohanim. “However the Arab are mistaken on all fronts. We will not be driven out of “our Jerusalem” and such acts of violence has only strengthened our resolve, strength of conviction, faith and fortitude.”

The building will be home to 3 or 4 Jewish families and some Yeshiva students. There are today over 1000 Jewish residents, including many Yeshiva students, of the old Jewish Quarter,(renamed the Moslem Quarter) in addition to the 4000 Jewish residents of the Jewish Quarter.

The newest acquisition is only a few minutes walk from the site of the murder of Rabbi Lavi and Bennett.  Building and buying in the Old City in areas where Jews were driven out in 1929, 1936-37, and 1948 is not only a powerful and lasting response to ongoing Arab terror, it is the best way to honor the memory of the fallen residents, especially the week of Israeli Memorial Day and Independence Day.

“It’s a spectacular accomplishment and it will hopefully lead to many more in the near future,” adds Rabbi Packer head of the Heritage House. “The Arabs are ready to leave. The question is: Are the Jews ready to take possession of the Land.”

 


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