While some Israelis took to the streets in protest of Pope Benedict XVI's policies, the Beit Orot yeshiva in Jerusalem has found a creative way to let the pope know their stance on the Jewish people's rights. The yeshiva, located roughly 400 meters from the pope's hotel, has hung out large banners proclaiming Jewish sovereignty in Jerusalem.
The 20-meter signs were strategically located to make them visible in photos and videos of the pope taken by foreign journalists near his temporary residence.
One banner reads, “Jerusalem – Eternal Capital of Israel and the Jewish People,” while another reminds the pope of the Biblical verse proclaiming the Jews a chosen people. The yeshiva has also hung Israeli flags around its compound.
Beit Orot yeshiva is located on the Mount of Olives (Har Hazeitim), a part of historic Jerusalem that was conquered by Jordan in 1948 and held for 19 years, during which time Arabs took control of the area, destroying many historic Jewish structures and seizing Jewish homes.
The yeshiva, and a small adjacent Jewish neighborhood, are currently the sole constant Jewish presence in the now majority-Arab area.
As those who hung the signs explained, the yeshiva's unique location gave its students the drive to protest, “The yeshiva is a Jewish island in the midst of those who hate it. We could not remain silent during the visit of the head of one of the world's largest Christian movements, a movement that claims the Jewish people as a whole is irrelevant, and has no attachment to its land, the land of Israel, or to its capital, Jerusalem.”
"It would benefit him to know that we stand strong when it comes to Jerusalem and to the entire land of Israel,” they added. “It is ours, we have returned home.”