Avid Editor's Insights

Archive for January 30th, 2010

Pollard Asks: Save ‘Beit Yehonatan’ in Eastern Jerusalem

Posted by Glezele Vayne on January 30, 2010


by Hillel Fendel

(IsraelNN.com) A meeting last month between the Dean of Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav, Rabbi Yaakov Shapira, and Jonathan Pollard in the latter’s US Federal prison cell may have consequences for Jewish – and Arab – construction in eastern Jerusalem.

Rabbi Shapira visited Pollard in his jail cell five weeks ago, together with Rabbi Pesach Lerner, who is Executive Vice President of the National Council of Young Israel. At one point, when Rabbi Shapira asked him what specifically he can do for Pollard back in Israel, Pollard answered, “I am very concerned for Beit Yehonatan. It needs to be looked after and made sure that not only is it not destroyed or evacuated, but that it becomes a center of Torah and prayer.”

Rabbi Shapira later spoke with Jerusalem settlement veterans from the Ateret Cohanim Jerusalem Settlement Foundation and expressed willingness to give classes there, and even possibly bring students there for the purpose.

Rabbi Shapira took over the helm of the Jerusalem yeshiva founded by the saintly Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook in late 2007, after the passing of his father, the renowned late Chief Rabbi Avraham Shapira.

Targeted From the Left
Beit Yehonatan is a Jewish-owned building in Jerusalem “Yemenite Village” neighborhood, named in honor of Jonathan Pollard. It has been declared illegal, largely because it exceeds the permitted height limit. The legal counsel of the Jerusalem Municipality, Attorney Yossi Havilio, has targeted the building, and demands that it be razed.

Even left-wing Meretz party members on the municipality council feel that Havilio is going too far, however. Dr. Meir Margalit of Meretz, as well as others much further to the right of him, say that there are many dozens of illegal Arab structures in the area, and that it is folly to pursue just one Jewish building and ignore the Arab ones.

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