From the City of David to the City of DavidJuly 9, 1999
This morning I left Hebron with my oldest son, travelling north to
Jerusalem. Today however, we didn’t make the trip to go shopping or do any
other errands. Our goal was a tour of Ir David – the City of David,
otherwise known as the village of Silwan, to the east of the Old City,
across for the Ashpot Gate, leading to the Kotel (Western Wall).
I don’t intend to give you all the details of the tour, except to say that
it was fascinating. Working as a tour guide myself, I can appreciate well
presented explanations. Inbal, the young woman now finishing her year of
volunteer service at Ir David, was excellent. And then again, she had what
to speak about.
When the tour finished we met with David Be’eri, the man responsible for a
Jewish presence at Ir David. Be’eri told us that 10 years ago not only
didn’t Jews live at Ir David. Jews could not get anywhere near it. The Arab
village of Silwan was a terrorist nest, and an extremely dangerous one at
that. Be’eri, a retired ranking army officer, began years of painstaking
detective work. His discoveries of Jewish owned land, purchased by Baron
Rothchild over a hundred years ago, led to the founding of a private
non-profit organization called “El Ad – El Ir David.” This organization,
with Be’eri at its helm, began redeeming Jewish houses and property. Today
twenty families live in the ancient Ir David, and with G-d’s help, others
will join them.
Why should people live today in the original Jerusalem, populated by King
David 3,000 years ago, following the initiation of his kingship in Hebron?
David Be’eri was quite clear “Arab Silwan is growing by leaps and bounds.
You can see that on top of all the older homes are one or two new floors.
They are building and building and building.
The hill behind the Silwan village is called Abu Dis. Abu Dis is the
planned ‘capital’ of Arafat’s palestinian state, a fact accepted by the
Arabs and many Israeli politicians. Arafat is planning on building a huge
Arab city, starting at Abu Dis, going through Silwan, and leading into the
Old City and Temple Mount. This is his way of enabling Abu Dis, the capital
of ‘palestine’ to actually include Jerusalem and Temple Mount. This is what
we must prevent.”
This can, and will be prevented by people like Be’eri and other Jewish
families who now live, scattered about, in the ancient City of David. And
to prevent any misunderstandings, they live very nicely with there Arab
neighbors. We saw one house which, on the first floor is Jewish, the second
floor is Arab, and the top floor is again Jewish.
So much for the politics. We entered a huge water pit, recently uncovered,
which is possibly where the prophet Jeremiah was thrown into when he tried
to convince the ancient Israelis not to sin. We sloshed a half a kilometer
through the ancient Shiloach tunnel, carved out of the rock by King Hezkiah
2,800 years ago, to bring water into Jerusalem. His workers began digging
from the two opposite sides of the mountain, meeting near the middle. An
ancient plaque, carved into the stone wall, describes the emotions when the
two sides met, just as they were supposed to. Children splashing around
there in the water a hundred years ago discovered that plaque which today
sits in a museum in Turkey.
Any of you who are regular readers of this commentary are aware how close
Hebron is to my heart. Hebron was the first City of David. But this site,
which I had the privilege to experience today, is the eternal City of
David, the eternal capital of Israel. I would suggest that all of you
coming to visit in Israel plan two very special days first, spend a day in
Hebron, seeing here the ancient Jewish sites, including the newly uncovered
archeological excavations at Tel Hebron/Tel Rumeida. Then, the next day,
spend 3-4 hours following in the footsteps of David HaMelech, seeing and
feeling the ancient Ir David. Of course, at both places, Hebron and
Jerusalem, the old meets the new and that also is an enchanting experience.
You too can go from the City of David to the City of David.
For more information
Hebron – see http//www.visit.hebron.org.il or call Moria at 972-2-9962323
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ir David – The City of David call 972-1-800-25-24-23 or 972-2-581-8989 or
I can guarantee you two days which you will never forget!