Jerusalem city Councilman and Land of Israel activist Arieh King has been working to prevent the sale of the last Jewish-owned property in the area of Jerusalem's Damascus Gate to Arabs – so far, to no avail, he said.
The property is owned by a Jewish family from France who seems intent on selling the property, King said.
“The property has been in Jewish hands since the second decade of the twentieth century,” said King. “It was home to several Jewish families from Georgia in the former Soviet Union. There was a synagogue there, and in 1927 seven Jews were murdered when they tried to defend themselves from Arab rioters.
“Unfortunately, the property today is owned by a French Jewish family, which sold about 10% of the property to Arabs recently, without waiting to hear our counter-offer,” said King.
Now, the family is offering half the property for sale, “and we are trying to prevent it form being sold to Arabs.”
The size of the parcel for sale is about a dunam (quarter acre) – and because of its location, that dunam is one of the most expensive in the world – about NIS 6 million. So far, King and his Israel Land Fund has raised only half the necessary funds to buy it. “
The building has stores, apartments, and the synagogue, which is still in existence, if not in use,” said King. “Unfortunately, for some people money is more important than history and heritage, even more important than a synagogue.”
Acquiring the property will be complicated, both legally and financially, but will be worth the effort, King said, adding “I call on anyone who can help to contact us and help us redeem this property.”