Sixty-nine years ago, the Hubara family, a Jewish family living in the heart of Jerusalem, was expelled from their home in the Shimon Hatzaddik neighborhood by British and Arab forces as the Jordanian army invaded and occupied the city during the early stages of Israel’s War of Independence.
The homes in the neighborhood had been purchased by the Sephardic and Ashkenazic communities in 1876.
Called ‘Sheikh Jarrah’ by the city’s Arab population, Shimon Hatzaddik was emptied of its Jewish population, who became refugees before any Palestinian Arabs did, and whose homes were then seized by local Arabs.
When Israel liberated Shimon Hatzaddik in 1967, the Hubara family found their home was occupied, like so many other Jewish-owned properties in eastern Jerusalem.
For the next 38 years, the Hubara family’s home in Shimon Hatzaddik remained in Arab hands, with the family unwilling to endure the lengthy legal battles required to redeem the property.
In February 2005, tragedy struck. Shimon and Dalia Hubara’s 26-year-old daughter, Odelia, was murdered near a Tel Aviv beachfront in a suicide bombing attack carried out by the Islamic Jihad terror group.
Following their daughter’s tragic death, the Hubaras decided to take back what is rightfully theirs, turning to the Israel Land Fund for assistance.
Twelve years later, following a court order against the Arab squatters for their refusal to pay rent or repair damage they had caused to the property, police returned the Hubara home to its legal owners.
During Tuesday’s eviction, Arab squatters, aided by far-left activists, protested the eviction and threw cinder blocks at police.
Local Jewish activists say they aren’t intimidated by the protesters, or the harassment Jewish residents of Shimon Hatzaddik face from some local Arabs or foreign activists.
One of the activists, Yoni Yosef, the grandson of the late Chief Rabbi and Shas party spiritual leader Ovadia Yosef, told Arutz Sheva that the Hubara home would not be the last to be redeemed.
As demonstrators continued to hurl cement blocks at police and Jewish activists reclaiming the Hubara home, Yosef seemed unfazed.
“We’ll take these blocks and use them to build even more homes in eastern Jerusalem and elsewhere across the Land of Israel. The Jewish people has returned to its land, despite the stones and knives. We’re here to stay, and we won’t be deterred by [Arab] harassment.”
The house, which was has fallen into disrepair and was damaged by Arab squatters over the years, will be undergo extensive renovations before new tenants are brought in.
“The house needs some serious repairs. There are still no mezuzot, and it lacks the most basic things, except for light and water. God willing, [after the renovations], we'll offer the house to a Jewish family, who will move in and strengthen the Jewish presence in the neighborhood. The Jewish people has returned to its land and to Jerusalem.”