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Clarification about Shimon haTsadiq quarter

Reader comment on item: Obama and Israel, Into the Abyss

Submitted by Elliott A Green (Israel), Jul 28, 2009 at 07:53

The plot of real estate where the State Dept doesn't want Jews to build or to live belonged to the Palestinian Arab Nazi collaborator, Haj Amin el-Husseini [Husayni], Mufti of Jerusalem, who joined in the Holocaust. Besides Husseinis, other wealthy Arabs lived nearby [Nashashibis and others].

Ironically, adjacent to these wealthy Arabs lived poor Jews in the Shimon haTsadiq Quarter [if I may be so politically incorrect as to point this out]. The Sefardic and Ashkenazic Jewish communities jointly acquired the land in and around the Tomb of Simon the Just in 1891. Homes for poor Jews were built there before most of the nearby Arab homes [and mansions] were built.

Strictly speaking, the Shimon haTsadiq Quarter referred only to the plot of land owned by the Jewish communities. The Arabs called their adjacent neighborhood Sheikh Jarrah after a medieval Arab-Muslim warrior, whereas Simon the Just [Shimon haTsadiq] was a revered ancient Jewish high priest said to have met Alexander of Macedon.

The Jews were driven out of the Shimon haTsadiq Quarter at the end of December 1947 by Arab irregular forces, before there were Arab refugees in the country. One Jewish family stayed into the first 8 to ten days of January 1948. These Jews were the first refugees from the war who could not go back home after the war was over, like the Jews of the nearby Nahalat Shimon Quarter [also named after Simon the Just], who were driven out in mid-January with help from British forces who previously disarmed the Jews.

It is ironic that today both Britain and the United States want to protect the "Arab character" of a property formerly belonging to a collaborator with the Nazis in the Holocaust.

By the way, the map accompanying this article is helpful. The Mufti's Vineyard property mentioned on the map also belonged to the Mufti Amin el-Husseini and was rented by him to George Antonius, a partisan and propagandistic historian of Arab nationalism.

Submitting....

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