Developers of a new Jewish neighborhood on privately-owned land in eastern Jerusalem plan to lay the cornerstone for the project Wednesday afternoon, ignoring U.S. President Barack Obama’s opposition to Jewish “settlers" in the area. Former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau and National Union Knesset Member Uri Ariel plan to be on hand for the ceremony which marks the development of 105 luxury units in Nof Tzion. A new Torah scroll also will be dedicated.
The project is located in the Jabel Mukabar neighborhood, home to several terrorists with Israeli identity cards who have carried out murderous attacks on Israelis, including the murder of eight students at the Merkaz HaRav yeshiva last year. Police are deployed to prevent violence that has spread throughout eastern Jerusalem this week.
The new development project is the second stage of the Nof Tzion neighborhood and “is the best answer to incitement and violence from extremist elements,” according to the Im Tirtzu (If You Will It) organization. Ninety-one residential units already have been built, and most of them have been sold.
The new development of Nof Tzion, which literally means View of Zion, will extend to Armon HaNatziv in eastern Talpiot. The master plan calls for nearly 500 apartment units, two synagogues, community and educational facilities and a mall.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has rejected President Obama’s demand for a total freeze on building in eastern Jerusalem, saying the entire city is under the sovereignty of Israel. The United States and most Western nations regard all of Judea and Samaria, including many parts of Jerusalem, as Arab land that Israel “occupied” since the Six-Day War in 1967. Previously, Jordan occupied the same areas following the War of Independence in 1948, when the Arab world rejected the United Nations partition of the country, which at the time was ruled by the British Mandate.