Silwan. MKs to join evacuation?
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
Orbach. 'Law abiding citizen'
Photo: Tomer Barzide

MKs offer to evacuate Arabs from Silwan

In letter to prime minister, rightist lawmakers promise to help Jewish residents in east Jerusalem neighborhood to remove families living in old synagogue building

Ten Knesset members from right-wing factions have expressed their willingness to join Jewish residents in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan and help them evacuate Arab families living in a building which previously served as a synagogue for Yemenite Jews.


The 11 lawmakers – Uri Ariel, Arieh Eldad, Yaakov Katz and Michael Ben Ari (National Union), Nissim Zeev and Avraham Michaeli (Shas), Zevulun Orlev and Uri Orbach (Habayit Hayehudi), Zion Fanian (Likud) and Menachem Eliezer Mozes (United Torah Judaism) – sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.


According to the letter, obtained by Ynet, "Israel is not carrying out its duty according to a verdict of the head of the repossession department. We wish to inform you that we plan, together with the Temple-treasury loyalists, to implement the legal right to carry out the demolition and evacuate the squatters from the synagogue."


The place, which served in the past as the Hechal Shlomo synagogue, is located only 150 meters (492 feet) from Beit Yehonatan, in assets runs by the Ateret Kohanim association.


"This is an ancient building which has been standing for more than 100 years," the MKs wrote in their letter. "For decades, the building served as a synagogue for Yemenite Jews, who lived in the area before being forced to leave at the British Mandate's order following the bloody events of 1938. Unfortunately, this building – like many others owned by the Temple-treasury, are being held by a family which invaded it and even made illegal building additions."


The protest's initiators added that this was done in disregard of a court ruling, which stated that the building additions must be destroyed and that the building must be returned to its original owners.


"The situation created is unthinkable. This is a special asset with important religious, cultural, historic and architectural value," they said.


MK Orbach clarified, "I am a law abiding citizen and I have no plan to replace the law enforcement authorities. I am demanding, however, that the police fulfill their duty and implement legal decisions, and I will act as an elected representative and within the framework of the law to enforce the court's rulings."


פרסום ראשון: 06.23.10, 20:17
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