Last Wednesday the Yemenite Synagogue located in the Yemenite Village section of Jerusalem’s Shiloach neighborhood was attacked through the night with rocks and molotov cocktails.
The synagogue was built in the 1880s by the Yemenite Jewish community that settled just outside of the Old City walls in what today is called Silwan by the Arab community that is squatting on the old Jewish property. The burgeoning Jewish community was considered a miracle as more and more Yemenites and other Jews of Middle Eastern origin settled within it. However, things turned bad when a series of Arab pogroms from 1920 to 1938 saw the decimation of the community and the final take over of the synagogue in 1938.
The British had promised to return the Jewish refugees to their homes but never did.
After the 1967 war when Israel liberated all of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, Golan, Gaza, and the Sinai, Jews slowly trickled back to the Shiloach starting in 1994.
Along with a spate of housing purchases in the Shiloach facilitated by Ateret Cohanim, the synagogue was returned to Jewish ownership and management a few years ago. However, the Arab population who lives illegally through most of the old Jewish neighborhood is considered one of the most violent in Jerusalem. They routinely attack Jews and their property with rocks and molotov cocktails. The attack on the synagogue was one of the worst attacks in recent year and is a reminder that the Jews who live in the Shiloach are under constant threat.
Only with applying real sovereignty to these areas in Jerusalem can the State of Israel quench the growing Arab violence that is simmering under the surface in neighborhoods where Jews are moving back to. By letting Arab squatters attack places of worship, especially one of national importance like the Yemenite Synagogue the State of Israel is weakening its control over strategic, historic, and religiously important neighborhoods in Jerusalem.