Superstar Singer Fetes East Jerusalem Neighborhood

Kobi Peretz sings at event marking decade to Kidmat Tzion neighborhood, located strategically near the terror hotbed of Abu Dis.

Uzi Baruch, Ari Yashar,

Kobi Peretz
Kobi Peretz
Flash 90

The Jewish neighborhood of Kidmat Tzion, located in eastern Jerusalem adjacent to Abu Dis, celebrated ten years on Thursday with a surprise guest - Israeli mizrahi ("oriental") music superstar Kobi Peretz, one of Israel's top singers.

Peretz highlighted the festivities that were attended by many figures leading the struggle to maintain a Jewish presence in the Old City, City of David, Ma'ale Hazeitim on the Mount of Olives, and the Yemenite Village in Shiloach (Silwan in Arabic).

Those speaking at the event included Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) - who on Sunday admitted there is an ongoing Jewish construction freeze in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, including in Kidmat Tzion - Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), and MK Miri Regev (Likud).

Kobi Peretz in Kidmat Tzion Michal Navon

After the reception to the event was concluded, children from the neighborhood released doves to the sky symbolically.

Performing ahead of Peretz was Udi Davidi, a well-known musician from Kiryat Arba near Hevron. Then Peretz took the stage, and sang upbeat hasidic songs along with his popular hits.

Organizers of the event noted that the neighborhood was founded ten years ago by the Ateret Cohanim organization that aims to strengthen the Jewish presence in Jerusalem. The group initiated the neighborhood as a move to combat the declining security situation.

The actual land, located south of the Mount of Olives, was purchased by Jews way back in September 1925.

"Today there is a healthy, flourishing and happy Jewish life in the community, which is taking action and hopes soon to establish a neighborhood housing thousands of Jewish families," said the organizers.

The important role of the Jewish presence in the area was recently highlighted in February, when terrorists marched near Abu Dis reportedly firing in the air - the incident shows how a stronger hold in the region could benefit Jerusalem security amid the ongoing "silent intifada."

Jerusalem Councilman Arieh King in March pushed through a new Egged bus line in the capital bound for Kidmat Tzion, to further strengthen the Jewish presence there. 

King was recently stripped of his coalition posts by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat after petitioning Barkat's plan to build 2,500 Arab housing units in Al-Sawahira Al-Gharbiyya - which King said together with the 3,000 illegal Arab housing units already in the neighborhood threaten the demographic balance in the capital.

The councilman has warned that between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's freeze on Jewish building amid a housing crisis, and Barkat's advance of Arab building and lack of enforcement against rampant illegal Arab construction, the two are leading to a de facto division of the capital.