"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 the invitation sent out for the inauguration of a new Jewish neighborhood on the Mount of Olives.
Israel National News was there, and brought you live coverage of this historic event.
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The new neighborhood is a project of the Ateret Cohanim Yeshiva, which is located in the Moslem Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City. The American Friends of Ateret Cohanim annual dinner will take place on June 1st in New York.
The dedication comes at a time when President Barack Obama's speech demanding that 1949 Armistice boundaries serve as the basis for Israel-PA negotiations has been countered strongly by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's refusal to consider the division of Jerusalem. United States officials have expressed displeasure with Jewish building east of the 1949 Armistice line, in eastern (where Maaleh Zeitim is located), northern and southern Jerusalem
Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin, Education Minister Gidon Saar, Minister of the Interior Eli Yishai, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and other political and religious leaders were at the event.
The Mount of Olives, site of the new neighborhood, is where King David wept as he fled Jerusalem during his son Absalom's rebellion (II Samuel 15,30) "And the king ascended Maaleh Hazeitim...". It is also the site of a historic Jewish cemetery which was vandalized during the period when Jordan occupied Jerusalem, from 1949-1967, and is now undergoing restoration. The gravestones, some used by Jordanians for latrines, tell the history of Jewish presence in Jerualem and are witness to the desire for Jews in the Diaspora to be buried there, as tradition has it that they will be resurrected first when the Messiah comes.
Until now, the eight families living in the Jewish-owned Beit Choshen buiding on the Mount of Olives, were the only Israeli presence there. An Israeli flag waves atop the building, whose residents have now been joined by another 100 who today make their homes on the mount in Ateret Cohanim's Maaleh Zeitim neighborhood.