Daily Israel Report

Ministers to Celebrate Jewish Growth in Jerusalem

Ministers and the Knesset speaker will attend the inauguration Wednesday of a new Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 5/22/2011, 8:34 PM / Last Update: 5/22/2011, 8:36 PM

A new Jewish neighborhood, to be called Maaleh Zeitim, will be inaugurated in Jerusalem on Wednesday. Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin, Education Minister Gidon Saar, Minister of the Interior Eli Yishai, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and several other political and religious leaders plan to attend the event.

“You are invited to come rejoice in the joy of Jerusalem on the occasion of the inauguration of the Maaleh Zeitim neighborhood on the Mount of Olives, and to strengthen Jewish settlement in Jerusalem,” read an invitation sent out to attendees.

United States officials have previously expressed displeasure with Jewish building east of the 1949 armistice line, in eastern, northern and southern Jerusalem. Maaleh Zeitim is located on the Mount of Olives, a historically Jewish site east of the line.

Rivlin said it was only natural to attend the event. “I am proud to dedicate a new neighborhood in Jerusalem. Construction in the entire city of Jerusalem is a normal thing, and it is important to keep saying that,” he told Maariv.

“Jews live in Jerusalem, not at the expense of other populations, but alongside them,” he continued. “Jerusalem has been united under Israeli rule for more than 40 years, and there is no need to make excuses or to apologize for that fact.”

He added, “All the talk about 'the problem of Jerusalem' is nonsense, it is an attempt to cause fear. A united Jerusalem is the solution.”