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Jerusalem Continues To Grow

Arutz Sheva February 8, 2004

Ir David – the ancient City of David, just to the south and below the
Temple Mount, the Western Wall Plaza and the rest of the Old City of
Jerusalem – continues to flourish, some 2,750 years after its founding.

Ir David – the ancient City of David, just to the south and below the Temple
Mount, the Western Wall Plaza and the rest of the Old City of Jerusalem –
continues to flourish, some 2,800 years after its founding. Members of the Elad
Association, which has settled the area with 26 Jewish families in the past 15
years, moved into three new complexes over the night. They were granted control
of the buildings – located on the slopes of Mt. Zion, just to the west of Ir
David proper – after more than two years of quiet but intensive work, and
faced no legal problems. Some of the apartments must be renovated before families
will be able to live in them.

De’uel (Duly) Basok, a member of Elad, happily told Arutz-7 today, “We
entered 15 new apartments in three buildings last night, forming Jewish contiguity
between Ir David and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City.” The buildings are
located off a street known to the locals as Falafel Way, but which appears on
maps as Malki Tzedek St. It can be reached when leaving the Western Wall by
making a right at Dung Gate and then a quick left into an area that most Jews have
long viewed as an Arab area very much off-limits.

Asked what occurred in the past few weeks to make the entry possible, Basok
said, “When dealing with Jerusalem, the perspective is not in terms of weeks,
but very much longer than that. We have been working on this for 2-3 years,
intensively and quietly, purchasing another apartment and another and another,
with tremendous patience and strong nerves, and at a certain point, we were able
to move into several of them at once… This will bear fruit for tourism in
the area, in terms of access to Dung Gate and in terms of the beautiful view
from there, and in general will be a great boon for the Jewish presence near the
Old City.” Basok said that there are waiting lists for people who want to
move in, “but those who truly feel connected to ancient Jerusalem, to 3,000 years
of history, to the Bible, and to the original location of Jerusalem – will
find their way here, and we will receive them warmly and with open arms.”

Arutz-7’s Ariel Kahane said, “Permit me to ask a pointed question: Even with
15 new families, isn’t your new total of 40 families in 15 years just a drop
in the ocean?”

Basok: “No, it’s not a drop in the ocean; it’s a drop in Jerusalem. Secondly,
those who know the map of Jerusalem and the mountain of Ir David know that
almost the entire eastern hillside is in our hands, including the main paths
leading to the Shiloach (Pool of Siloam) and to other ancient sites there. We
have had tens of thousands of visitors a year, including more than 100,000 one
year – such that this ‘drop’ is heavily concentrated in a very critical spot. In
addition, these 15 families are only the beginning of our Stage Two – from
which you can understand that there will be a continuation, leading even to a
Stage Three. Our goal is to create an area where Jews can feel totally free to
walk around in the area where half the Bible was written. As Rabbi Yehuda
HaLevy [12th century poet and author of HaKuzari] wrote, “If I could only stroll
around in the places where G-d revealed Himself to your prophets.” We want to
have Jewish children playing here, yeshivot here – full Jewish life, in total
safety. We have not yet reached that stage – although it is already a great
place to live. There are some difficulties, such as steep inclines, difficult
approaches for cars, and – the most pleasant of the difficulties – the fact that
our houses are always open to the hundreds and sometimes thousands of visitors
who frequent here. We feel that we are at the center of Jewish nation, and the
Jewish nation feels it as well.”

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