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January 22, 1988 - Image 28

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-01-22

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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28

FRIDAY, JANUARY 22, 1988

Old City's New Resident
Poses Some Dilemmas

DAVID LANDAU

erusalem — Four dozen
policemen will be em-
ployed in round-the-
clock shifts to guard Minister
of Industry and Trade Ariel
Sharon's new apartment in
the Moslem Quarter of the
Old City, according to
Knesset member Haim
Ramon of the Labor Party.
Ramon has asked the
Knesset Finance Committee
to reconsider its 1.7 million
shekel ($1.1 million) alloca-
tion for guarding the
minister, pointing out that
the force of guards is about
the same size as a police force
in a small Israeli town.
Sharon already has securi-
ty guards, at an annual cost
of about 400,000 shekels
($250,000), at his ranch in the
Negev. His new home, a two-
room apartment in an old
building spaning Hagai
Street that the minister and
his wife Lily have been
renovating over the past few
weeks, will need stricter
security.
In fact, the security force
was used by Sharon to justify
his move. The minister said
that his guards would add to
the security of the few Jewish
residents in the Moslem
Quarter, encourage more
Jews to live there and protect
people using Hagai Street
route to reach the Western
Wall.
Hagai was the scene of
several knife attacks against
Jews recently. Last year,
yeshiva student Eliyahu
Amedi was fatally stabbed
nearby.
Safeguarding the area is a
complex undertaking.
Although the nearby Lions
Gate along the east wall of
the Old city can provide vehi-
cle access to Hagai Street, a
small car can easily block the
flaggtoned, three-yard-wide
Old City artery. Sharon's
guards will have to rely on
foot patrols along Hagai, one
of the few flat streets in the
Old City, and along the
narrow-stepped alleys leading
to it.
Sharon is the first Israeli
political personality to live in
the crowded streets of the
Moslem Quarter, although
two yeshivot have been
established there in recent
years.
One of them, Shuvu Banim,
teaches newly observant
Jews, many of them former
convicts. The yeshivah has
been noted for its provocative
and hostile behavior toward
its Moslem neighbors.

j

Ariel Sharon: Secure

The students at the second
yeshiva, Ateret Cohanim,
which specializes in esoteric
studies concerning the priest-
ly rites in the yet-to-be-built
third Temple, coexists
peacefully with the local
Arabs.
The Old city has been for-
mally divided into separate
quarters for different
religious groups for hundreds
of years, but there always was
some blurring of the separa-
tion. Moslems owned
buildings in the Jewish
Quarter, and Jews establish-
ed homes in the Moslem
section.
Sharon's new home is in
such a building, and the
minister was at pains to point
out that his Chanukah house-
warming party was not a
religious dedication
ceremony, since that
ceremony, Sharon said, had
been held a hundred years
ago by the first owner, a Jew
call Wittenberg.
The house has been held by
the Wittenberg Trust ever
since, with the proceeds from
the rent donated to charity.
Some of the local Moslems
joined demonstrations pro-
testing their new neighbor
last month as the violent
unrest in Gaza and the West
Bank spread to East
Jerusalem. Others acquiesc-
ed, murmuring traditional
words of Arab hospitality.
Many of the local residents
rely on quiet in their quarter.
Sharon held his house-
warming party on the first
night of Chanukah. Premier
Yitzhak Shamir was guest of
honor, but many invitees
demonstratively stayed away,
terming the apartment a
"provocation."
Notable among them was
Jerusalem Mayor Teddy
Kollek, who explained that
while he theoretically sup-
ports the right of every Jew to
settle anywhere in the land of
Israel, Sharon's move would
create trouble in the city.
The mayor's words proved
to be prophetic.

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