Arab school to be built on Jewish-owned land?

Plans to build Arab school in Jerusalem on hold as evidence emerges of Jewish ownership of land.

Eliran Aharon ,

The land near Beit Hanina
The land near Beit Hanina
Eliran Aharon

Controversy surrounds the Jerusalem municipality's intention to build an Arab school for children with learning disabilities on land which is owned by Jews.

The area in question is known as the 'triangle' of Beit Hanina and Neve Ya'akov in northern Jerusalem, and is part of the land which was expropriated from Neve Ya'akov by the State and turned over to the Jerusalem municipality.

Recently, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat received evidence and testimony that the land was formerly owned by Jews. Barkat launched an investigation into the matter and froze all construction at the site until the court gives its verdict on who owns the land.

Jerusalem City Councilman Aryeh King, who recently left Barkat's coalition, told Arutz Sheva that the mayor was attempting to transfer Jewish-owned land to Arabs. "Barkat decided to designate the land for the Arab population in Beit Hanina, instead of promoting Jewish construction and continuing to preserve the legacy of the Hebrew village which existed here."

King accused the mayor of discriminating against the Jewish and religious populations of Jerusalem.

The Jerusalem municipality said in response: "A usual, King is unafraid to lie on this matter, just as he lied on the issue of the Sabbath and about other issues. The area in question is owned by the local administration of Beit Hanina and is designated as public space, and the local administrations of Beit Hanina and Pisgat Ze'ev jointly decided that the land would be used for a school for students with special needs."

"The evidence of ownership of the land is with the court, and the mayor has instructed that the [construction] process be frozen until ownership is established."