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Simon the Just, Facebook, and Wheelchairs

A wheelchair-bound Jerusalemite has opened a fast-growing Facebook group in the name of the Shimon HaTzaddik neighborhood.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 1/18/2010, 12:26 PM / Last Update: 1/18/2010, 1:13 PM

Wheelchair-bound Yedidya Knop, 23, says he is happy to be able to do what he can on behalf of the Land of Israel and the Jewish residents of the Shimon HaTzaddik neighborhood in Jerusalem – namely, to open a fast-growing Facebook group in their name.  

After only two weeks, the account already has 1,734 members. “In my condition, there’s not much I can do physically for the Land of Israel," Yedidya told Arutz-7 TV, "and so I’m very happy that, via my computer, I can contribute what I can via the media. I invite all Arutz-7 readers to join our struggle on Facebook.”

“Of late,” he explains, “several homes [owned by Jews] in the Shimon HaTzaddik [Sheikh Jarrah] neighborhood have been redeemed, greatly annoying anarchists and anti-Semites around the world, who come here and harass the Jewish residents and worshippers. They hope that in this way they will prevent Jews from visiting the holy site and living around it. In our Facebook group, we will post updates about what is happening in and around the area, and about the struggle to reclaim the stolen Jewish property.”

The site is currently in Hebrew, but English messages of support are also welcome.

Simon the Just was a High Priest during the time of the Second Temple, and in 333 B.C.E. he met in Greece with Alexander the Great, who bowed before Simon, according to both the Talmud and the historian Josephus. 

His burial site is in present-day Jerusalem, about a kilometer northeast of Meah She'arim near downtown Jerusalem. The site and surrounding land was purchased in 1876 by the Jewish community, and housing construction commenced there in 1891.

By 1948, 20 Jewish families were living in these homes, but after eastern Jerusalem was captured by Jordan in the 1948 War of Independence, Arab families moved in. For more than 10 years, the "Settlers of Zion" association, under the sponsorship of former MK Rabbi Benny Elon and the Beit Orot yeshiva, have led the drive to reclaim the neighborhood for Jews. The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Jewish rights in the neighborhood over the years, and some Arab families have been evicted from property owned by Jews - in spite of ongoing high-profile protests there by Arabs and their supporters.