Monday, February 19, 2007

Abu Dis

Even deeper in the city, next to the enormous concrete security wall, Ateret Cohanim has purchased several more acres, soon to be the site of over three hundred new housing units.

Empty land being prepared for new housing abutting the security wall.
The view: Looking west. The row of trees marks the end of Jewish West Jerusalem. During the time of the Tanach, where we stand was the Canaanite village of Bezek, conquered by the tribe of Judah in the book of Shoftim (Judges), chapter 1.

Looking towards teh temple mount, which sticks up between Ras Al Amud (treesy hill to the left) and Har Hazeitim, the Mount of Olives, on the right.

The Dome of the Rock, peeking from the valley. Note the graveyard on the Mount of Olives, to the right.

Looking over the empty land, location of hundreds of future housing units. Mount of Olives in the far background.

Standing in Abu Dis, site of 300 future housing units, looking east towards the other side of the security fence. The building on the left was the orient house, which would have been the Palestinian Parliament building, had negotiations come to fruition.

Needless to say, the entire project is surrounded with controversy. According to international public opinion, Jews have no business living in areas which were conquered by the Jordanian legion in 1948, and from which they were ejected in 1967, including the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. Within Israel, despite the Second Intifadah, which most Israelis concluded was a result of the Oslo negotiation process, there are still some Israelis who believe that dividing Jerusalem will satisfy Palestinian territorial demands. While this political persuasion is most certainly a minority view, its adherents are disproportionately represented amongst the country’s unelected elite in the military, courts, and intelligentsia. There is also a much larger chunk of Israelis who simply have no deep religious or historical sentiment and therefore no attachment to Jerusalem. They do not share the international ethical outrage at Jews living in land captured from Jordan, they simply believe it to be impractical. They would prefer to jettison East Jerusalem, with its enormous Arab population, and let them sink or swim in the Palestinian failed state that seems to be reluctantly emerging.

To be continued…

What I learned in Yeshivah Today:

Actually, today was a good day in Yeshivah for other reasons. At lunch time, Yossi, who made aliyah from Germany about six months ago, announced he's getting married! Lots of Mazal Tovs and dancing. Then Michael came back from mikveh, having finally completed his conversion. More Mazal Tovs! So it was a day of simchas.

Anyway, let's see... what did I learn? Well, in this week's parsha, we see that the Aron Kodesh, the holy ark containing the tablets of the ten commandments (as seen in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark,) plus a sefer Torah (Torah scroll) had permanent carrying poles attached to the sides. The Torah specifically instructs us never to remove the poles, the idea being that Torah should always be portable, and can be practiced anywhere and under any circumstanses.

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