When one walks the alleyways and streets in what is today called “Silwan,” most visitors are not aware that they are walking on an old Jewish neighborhood decimated in the 1930s. Known as the Shiloach after the spring at the bottom of the City of David or the Yemenite Village for it’s original inhabitants, who were Yemenite Jews, the once majority Jewish neighborhood is a tangle of Arab houses built on the remains of the former houses of the now evicted Jewish residents.
Despite the overwhelming hostile Arab presence, there are more than 21 Jewish families in multiple buildings across the entirety of the Old Yemenite Village thanks to Ateret Cohanim. Boasting a daycare center, Kollel, playground, and library, the Jews of the Old Yemenite Village appear unmovable in the face of a clearly hostile Arab presence.
With the three dome Yemenite Synagogue now back in Jewish hands and being renovated, the Jewish community appears set to expand again.
A Jerusalem court has now ruled that the land that belonged to the Sanctified Trust of the original Yemenite Jews must be returned to its original owners. This land includes the Synagogue which has already been returned as well as 20-25 buildings housing close to 600 Arabs squatters.
Daniel Luria, Executive Director of Ateret Cohanim said the following regarding the court ruling:
“This amazing court ruling, not only returned the Synagogue (Ohel Shlomo) to the Sanctified Trust, but it also opened up the possibility of returning other properties in the Trust to its rightful heirs. And hence a process was started by the Hekdesh (Sanctified Trust Committee) to redeem and reclaim many other buildings on Hekdesh property.”
While the ruling has drawn the ire of leftwing organizations like Ir Amim and others, the court brought a sense of historical justice to a sad chapter in the Jewish return to the Land of Israel.