Avid Editor's Insights

Jerusalem Vice Mayor: One Law for All – Raze EU Building

Posted by Glezele Vayne on January 19, 2010

BS”D

Now here’s the plucky Israel I grew to know and love! Nice to see you sweetheart … where you been? — Ellie Katz

by Hillel Fendel

(IsraelNN.com) Jerusalem Deputy Mayor David Hadari says that if the authorities are so bent on razing the Jewish-populated Beit Yehonatan in the eastern Jerusalem “Yemenite Village” neighborhood, they must also demolish another illegal building: The European Union’s Beit Europa.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat appeared at a Knesset Law Committee session last week, and presented his housing plans for eastern Jerusalem. In the knowledge that there are dozens, and possibly hundreds, of illegally-built Arab buildings there, and that destroying all of them is not feasible, Barkat wishes to retroactively permit buildings there to reach four stories high, instead of the currently mandated two.

Most of the buildings in question are Arab-populated, but one of them is none other than Beit Europa, used by the European Union for various activities.

This raises a red flag for people like Hadari, who is concerned about the ongoing legal proceedings against the Jewish-owned Beit Yehonatan. The building stands six stories high, and because the authorities are unable to find the owner, they are seeking to evict the families.

Named for Jonathan Pollard, Beit Yehonatan stands in the area of the Yemenite Village, below and just to the southeast of the Temple Mount. The area was owned by and home to many Jewish families, mostly from Yemen, from the 1880’s until 1938.  On Aug. 11, 1938, following a long period of Arab riots, pogroms and looting, the British evacuated the last 30 families from the neighborhood. “The British gave assurances that the ‘Jewish refugees’ would shortly return,” according to Daniel Lurie, Executive Director of the Ateret Cohanim Jerusalem Settlement Foundation, “but of course, this never happened”- until April 2004, when several Jewish families moved back in.

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From Glezele Vayne

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