We visited the the unique neighborhood of Nof Zion overlooking the Temple Mount and currently in the midst of a construction boom with nine new buildings of 133 housing units going up soon.
The 3,4, and 5-room apartments are large and well-equipped, some with a private garden and others with a large balcony, meticulously designed, combining modern construction while preserving Jerusalem's unique landscape. A commercial center, recreational areas, and two hotels will add a feeling of warmth and hospitality to the budding neighborhood in the near future.
Nof Zion Community is a nationalistic, young, supportive, and vibrant religious community with a rich social life where a few minutes' walk will bring you to local: Parks, kindergartens, shopping malls, synagogues, mikvahs, sports, and cultural center. And this is only the beginning.
We met Elyon Shemesh, resident of Nof Zion and Udi Ragones, CEO of the company behind the newest construction in the neighborhood.
Elyon told us of his experience coming to Nof Zion and how he knew this was the place he and his family would make their home for years to come. "We came here 13 years ago. The park you see in front of you wasn't even here yet. We didn't know what kind of community would develop around us, but we just looked at the view and said that: 'This is where we want to live.'"
Asked about the recent construction in the neighborhood, Udi says: "When people first look into buying a home here, they're sold on it as soon as they see the view. I don't need to convince anyone. That's the key. We are very close to Derech Hebron, Talpiot, and the center of Jerusalem."
"We got the most incredible community. It's like family and you really feel like you're part of a greater whole inside the big city. It's about 10 minutes walk from the city center. You have a really vibrant group of people. There's a nice group of English speakers, with recreational activities, enrichment courses, and get-togethers. A lot of social events taking place all the time. Hundreds of children running around. There are people here that are very active organizing community events. So whether it's the holidays, or educational and cultural events, it's an amazing place to live," says Shemesh.
Speaking about the sanctity of the location, which faces the holiest place on Earth, he gets a little emotional: "You feel like you're sitting in the house of G-d...you're two and a half kilometers air view from the Temple Mount. And you feel like you're in the presence of G-d."
Ragones adds: "The standard of apartments here is very high. We have three-room, four-rooms and five -rooms apartments made of high quality stone...the aluminium, everything we offer is of the highest standards."
"We really don't have too many problems here even when all around is heating up because there's a war
or a wave of terrorism. So yes, we feel like everywhere else, but without all the issues most people face on an everyday level. We have 24-hour security that's fantastic; the best security you could imagine. Cameras everywhere. So we do all the regular stuff, and still feel very safe, and love living here," boasts Shemesh.
"We're adding another nine buildings, which means 133 apartments in the next building phase. And then another 12 buildings with 250 apartments. All included, it's going to be around 380 apartments, with families in each one."
"We're going to add another sports and commercial center, The Municipality is going to build two Mikvaot, along with two synagogues. And on top of the hill, we're going to build two hotels," adds Ragones.
Who is behind this project?
"Two businessmen - Kevin Bermeister of Australia, who has invested in a number of projects in Jerusalem such as the Jerusalem Gardens Hotel and Rami Levy...I believe a lot of people know him...are both pushing this project. They've felt a strong affinity for it from the start and personally support the venture."
"The apartments here are selling out very quickly. We have already sold out most of what you see here, and are starting work on another three buildings. Half of the apartments there have been sold out as well. They're going very fast. If you're interested in a place in the heart of Jerusalem with a small, close-knit community feel, now's the best chance you'll get!"