Construction commenced on Wednesday on a new residential Jewish neighborhood atop the Mount of Olives Ridge in east Jerusalem, near Hebrew University.
The neighborhood will be an extension of the Irving Moskowitz Yeshiva & Campus - Yeshivat Beit Orot – named after the Jewish-American millionaire who purchases land with the purpose of "Judaizing" the eastern part of the capital.
In early 2010, the Jerusalem Municipal Planning and Construction Committee authorized the construction of 24 housing units at the site. The project is likely to draw harsh condemnation from the US and Europe.
The Beit Orot website said the building project, which will include 3 new residential buildings, each 3 stories high, is intended to "provide housing for married (yeshiva) students and to enhance the development of the educational complex. Heavy equipment began excavation and infrastructure work this morning and construction is expected to be complete in one year."
The website quoted the head of the yeshiva, Rabbi Dani Isaac, as saying, "We are joyful and honored to commence the construction of our new neighborhood which strengthens the Jewish presence in united Jerusalem and stresses the fact that Jerusalem is the home of every Jew in Israel
and throughout the world."
Shlomo Zwickler, executive director of Beit Orot, said, "These new residential buildings are an anchor to connect all areas of Jerusalem together. One of the goals of Beit Orot is to reconnect people to the historic areas of Jerusalem, including the Mount of Olives Ridge and Mount Scopus. This new construction makes major headway toward this goal."
Ronen Medzini, Kobi Nahshoni contributed to the report