Aryeh King, chairman of the Israel Land Fund and a long-time activist in the effort to redeem land previously owned by Jews in Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem, has embarked on a world tour to bring the issue to the attention of Jewish communities in the West. King's lecture and presentation discusses the issues in involved in Jewish settlement in these areas.
King has for years worked with Arab landowners and landlords who are interested in selling their properties. King is prepared to offer them full price, and then some, but many of the owners fear doing business with him, since the Palestinian Authority has declared that anyone who sells land to a Jew is subject to harsh criminal penalties, and even death. Although Jerusalem Arabs are ostensibly under Israeli jurisdiction, Israel's authority in these areas is limited, King tells audiences. A great deal of discretion – and money – is needed to ensure that deals can go through, and that no one gets killed doing them.
“We went on an international speaking engagement that lasted for nine days and took us to London, New York, and Canada,” King told Arutz Sheva. “Our purpose is to raise awareness among world Jewry for the issues in land redemption in Jerusalem. Wherever we go, we explain that the security situation in Jerusalem is very fragile, and that much more must be done to ensure Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem. We need the encouragement of world Jewry, especially now, which is why we chose to undertake this effort during the Nine Days” prior to the Fast of the 9th of Av, commemorating the destruction of Jewish civilization in the Land of Israel, King said.
King says that he asks his audiences to contact their local elected officials, and MKs and other officials in Israel, and to come to Israel and visit the neighborhoods that he is active in. “We want them to come to Shimon Hatzaddik in Jerusalem, and to Hevron and other areas, and maybe even buy properties themselves. That would be the proper answer to the leniency of the government on Arab violence and intimidation in recent years,” he added.