Immodestly dressed anarchists invaded and desecrated the Shimon HaTzadik site in Jerusalem Tuesday night, several days before a planned event set for the anniversary of the death of Rabbi Shimon HaTzadik (Simon the Just).
Ownership of the area has been contested in the courts. A large part of the area was purchased by the Sephardi Committee of Jerusalem and the Knesset Israel group in 1875, and includes homes owned by Jews from before the creation of the Jewish state. In 1948 the British insisted that the Jewish residents leave, claiming that they could not protect them, and the neighborhood was occupied by Jordan until 1967, who returned in recent years and number close to 2000.
There is a constant stream of religious visitors who come to pray at the site.
Leftist and Pro-Arab groups have staged dozens of protests over the past several months in the Jewish neighborhood, known to the Arab population as "Sheikh Jarrah," led by Knesset Members Ilan Ghilon of Meretz and Mohammed Barakeh of the Hadash party. Former MKs Yossi Sarid and Avraham Burg, along with writer David Grossman, also have participated in the demonstrations, although the Israeli courts have ruled time and time again that the Jewish rights to the land are valid. Arab squatters also refused to pay the rent decided by the courts and several were evicted.
However, the High Court has hampered efforts by police to disperse the demonstrations, ruling that the protesters can stay as long as they do not block traffic and create public disorder.
Jewish residents in the area told Israel National News that the presence of the demonstrators encourages Arab neighbors to follow every protest with violent attacks against them and the holy site.