Yossi Havilio, ten-year veteran District Attorney of the City of Jerusalem and overt hostile opponent of the Beit Yehonatan building below the Temple Mount, has announced his resignation.
He will leave his position in six months’ time.
Havilio has been engaged in an ongoing dispute with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat regarding the illegal construction in eastern Jerusalem, particularly in the Silwan-Ir David neighborhoods just south and east of the Temple Mount. Hundreds of illegal Arab buildings and one illegal Jewish building - Beit Yehonatan - fill the neighborhood, yet Havilio insists that the latter be destroyed or sealed before action is taken against the others.
Eight Jewish families currently live in the six-floor building, which is four floors higher than permitted.
Mayor Barkat wrote a stinging, public letter to Havilio, accusing him of concealing information and discriminating against Jews in eastern Jerusalem. The mayor also wrote that Havilio sought to malign him and to prevent him from carrying out his policies as mayor.
Beit Yehonatan is named for Jonathan Pollard; click here to see a video tour of the building. It was erected by the Ateret Cohanim organization, whose goal it is to increase the Jewish presence in and around the Old City of Jerusalem. Just several weeks ago, Jewish families moved into one of its recent purchases – a building in the northern Old City near Flowers Gate. The purchase was finalized more than 20 years ago, but the Arabs living there enjoyed protected status until now.
The Jewish presence inside the Old City continues to grow. Between 950 and 1,000 Jews now live in the Old Jewish Quarter of the Old City – areas that today are known as the Christian Quarter and the Moslem Quarter.