Daily Israel Report

Yeshiva: We Will Evict Arab Squatters from Shiloach Synagogue

The courts decided for the Yeshiva but a year and a half has gone by without police action against Shiloach synagogue squatters in Jerusalem.
By Rachel Sylvetsky
First Publish: 5/11/2010, 3:44 PM / Last Update: 5/11/2010, 3:19 PM

Flash 90

"We will evict the Arabs from the Synagogue on our own."

The Ateret Cohanim Yeshiva announced Tuesday that it intends to evict the Arab squatters, who took over the Yemenite Synagogue in the Shiloach neighborhood (Silwan) just outside the Old City of Jerusalem walls several decades ago, by itself if no police help is forthcoming.

MK Miri Regev (Likud), member of the Knesset Foreign Relations Committee, toured the area in the morning with fellow committee member MK Yariv Levin (Likud) and more than a hundred central Likud activists. "We have to stand up for our historic rights in Jerusalem while the proximity talks are in progress," she said.

During their visit to Beit Yehonatan in the neighborhood, Regev said that the law must be obeyed but that its enforcement must be the same for Jews and Arabs. "Unfortunately, there is selective enforcement that discriminates between Jewish and Arab construction. I agree with the Jerusalem's mayor's suggestion to develop a master plan that provides fitting solutions to all the problems in the Shiloach area. During this sensitive period, it is incumbent upon us to find a creative solution that will preserve the status quo here."

According to Regev, "Israel wants peace, but her capital city of Jerusalem is not an obstacle to peace negotiations.  Jerusalem is a central pillar of peace and of the Jewish connection to the land, and the City of David symbolizes and strenghthens those historic ties."

Assaf Baruchi, the representative of Ateret Cohanim Yeshiva on the tour, referred to the old Yemenite synagogue in the Shiloach neighborhood that was built in 1890 but taken over by Arab squatters in 1938 when the British forced the Jews, who owned the property, to leave due to Arab rioting.

Baruchi told Arutz Sheva that a year and a half ago the courts decided in favor of the yeshiva, the legal owners of the synagogue, and told them to evict the squatters with police help and destroy the illegal additions to the building.

"The court decided to allow the synagogue to return to it previous condition and ordered the police to help achieve this by helping to evict the squatters. However, nothing has been done since then and therefore, if we have no choice, we will do it on our own," he declared.