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Israel - Dov Hikind Leads Cornerstone-Laying Ceremony at Nof Zion, As Obama Protests Building Expansion [Photos]

Published on: November 18, 2009 06:04 PM
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Dov Laying The Cornerstone Photo Credit: Heshy RubinsteinIsrael - Dov Hikind, a member of the New York State Assembly, was in this disputed city on Wednesday looking for property to buy. He said he was most excited about a new apartment complex overlooking the Old City called Nof Zion.

At noon, Mr. Hikind, led a group of about 50 American Jews in laying a cornerstone for the next phase of Nof Zion, with construction scheduled to start next spring. “I want to buy here,” Mr. Hikind said. “I might make a deal while I am here this time.”

More than a real estate deal, though, it would be a statement: Nof Zion, a private Jewish project, is located in Jebel Mukaber, a Palestinian Arab neighborhood of East Jerusalem, in territory that Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 war. Israel claims sovereignty over all Jerusalem; the Palestinians demand the eastern part as the capital of a future state.

Scroll down for more photos from Israel.

Even within Israel, the idea of Jews moving into predominantly Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem stirs heated debate. Two well-known Israeli families refused City Hall’s offer of naming the street leading to Nof Zion for their deceased relatives, according to the local Jerusalem press.

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But illustrating the complexity of the Jerusalem conundrum, others argue that Jews, Christians and Muslims should be able to live wherever they like. Not allowing Jews to live in certain neighborhoods of the city “is segregation,” said Mr. Hikind, a Democrat who represents several heavily Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn.

With new tensions surfacing between the Obama administration and Israel over building in contested parts of Jerusalem, the character and future of the city remain central motifs in the long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

The cornerstone-laying ceremony at Nof Zion came a day after the Israeli authorities moved ahead with plans for the expansion of Gilo, a Jewish residential district in south Jerusalem on land that was also captured in the 1967 war. The plans for 900 additional housing units drew a sharp rebuke from the White House.

President Obama, speaking to Fox News from Beijing, said “additional settlement building does not contribute to Israel’s security” and makes peace-making harder. “I think it embitters the Palestinians in a way that could end up being very dangerous,” he said.

From 1948 to 1967 Jerusalem was divided between Jordanian and Israeli rule. It has been united, at least nominally, under Israeli control for the past 42 years. In that time, the parts of Jerusalem claimed by the Palestinians have turned into a patchwork of Arab and new Jewish neighborhoods, home to up to 250,000 Palestinians and roughly 190,000 Jews.

So long as the populations live in separate quarters, advocates of twostates, Israel and Palestine co-existing side by side, say a formula for an agreement on Jerusalem can still be found, with the Jewish areas administered by Israel and Arab areas coming under the control of the Palestinian authorities in the West Bank.

But critics charge that mingling the two populations will destroy the prospects for a two-state solution. As a first step toward resuming the peace process, the Obama administration and the Palestinian leadership had been trying to get Israel to halt all settlement activity to create a more conducive environment for talks. The Israeli government has offered to slow down construction but not halt it completely, and it refuses to include Jerusalem in any settlement freeze.

Mr. Hikind vociferously opposes the Obama stance, which means, he says, that Jewish residents “cannot build a toilet” in the West Bank. He says he is also for peace, only “unfortunately, it is not happening” right now.

Earlier this week his party toured the Jewish settlements of Samaria in the northern West Bank with a view to buying houses or trailers to rent out to settler families. On Wednesday morning, before the cornerstone ceremony, they toured Silwan and other Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem where Jewish religious nationalists have moved in.

Nof Zion is built on privately owned land that an Israeli developer bought over the years. In the first stage of the project 91 apartments were built, of which 70 are already occupied. There are kindergartens, a small park with a jungle gym and plans for a domed synagogue.

Across town, in the Arab East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, the Israeli authorities on Wednesday demolished a Palestinian home that had been built without a permit.

When it comes to demolitions, Jerusalem’s City Hall says it applies the law equally in all parts of the city, regardless of religion or race. But officials acknowledge that the process of obtaining a building permit is costly and extremely complicated. Most Palestinian residents do not qualify.

Instead, many of them feel that the Israelis are trying to push them out.

“In Gilo they are building, here they are demolishing,” said Abdul Halim Dari, 44, the owner of the destroyed house.

All Photos Credit to Brooklyn’s famous photographer Heshy Rubinstein who is traveling along with the Assemblyman



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Read Comments (27)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Nov 18, 2009 at 06:27 PM mojo Says:

baruch hashem keep up the work

2

 Nov 18, 2009 at 06:50 PM Mr T. Says:

I believe that Dov is endangering his and his families life. Dov please..

3

 Nov 18, 2009 at 06:22 PM Milhouse Says:

Boruch Hashem, Jewish houses are being built, and our enemies' attempts to colonise our land are being thwarted, at least for once. When one sees such projects as this one, one must say a bracha with shem umalchus: ברוך אתה ה׳ אלקינו מלך העולם מציב גבול אלמנה.

4

 Nov 18, 2009 at 06:19 PM Shimmy Says:

Dov your the best!!! keep up your good work!!!

5

 Nov 18, 2009 at 06:18 PM Kudos Says:

Dov your work in Congress is fantastic. As a Congressman, you can do so much as you are doing in Israel and BP. You will always have my vote for Congress.

6

 Nov 18, 2009 at 06:18 PM yoelg Says:

Dov: what abbout hisgars beims? dont take out the palestitn from ther hole, we dont need more teror attect, sham on you dov

7

 Nov 18, 2009 at 08:08 PM Anonymous Says:

Thank you Dov! Since you represent us We all feel as having a share in this and you are the shaliach.

8

 Nov 18, 2009 at 08:21 PM Anonymous Says:

These theatrics make great photo ops but they complicate the president's efforts to achieve a just peace settlement for EY and the Palestinians. If more bloodshed is what he wants, than this is a great symbolic achievement but I doubt it will do much for the security of jews living in Israel.

9

 Nov 18, 2009 at 08:20 PM Anonymous Says:

Allthough I don't agree with the obamanation , its kind of radical what dov is doing...too much kahane style , I like dov he does allot of good for us in BP , this is a little crazy , just my 2 cents

10

 Nov 18, 2009 at 08:53 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #9  
Anonymous Says:

Allthough I don't agree with the obamanation , its kind of radical what dov is doing...too much kahane style , I like dov he does allot of good for us in BP , this is a little crazy , just my 2 cents

What is radical about buying an apartment in Yerusholayim? If Jews can't live there, where CAN we live? How secure do you think your right to live in BP can be?

11

 Nov 18, 2009 at 08:51 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #8  
Anonymous Says:

These theatrics make great photo ops but they complicate the president's efforts to achieve a just peace settlement for EY and the Palestinians. If more bloodshed is what he wants, than this is a great symbolic achievement but I doubt it will do much for the security of jews living in Israel.

The whole point is to complicate those efforts, and hopefully frustrate them altogether. The only just settlement would be for the Arabs to stop shooting at Jews. Any "settlement" that gives the Arabs anything at all in return for this is by definition unjust. Or do you think it would be a "just settlement" for the FBI to give the mafia control of Little Italy and Brooklyn, in return for their agreeing not to kill people in the rest of NYC?

12

 Nov 18, 2009 at 09:13 PM Anonymous Says:

Wonderful, a New York Assemblyman conidering buying a vacation condo in Israel so as to help start another Intafada....We should be kvelling that our New York legislators have nothing better to do while the state budget is falling apart and he is meddling in foreign policy matters

13

 Nov 18, 2009 at 10:21 PM Yossi Says:

It's sad the way everybody is thinking but the gemara in ms' ktibot tells us very clearly what the punishment is...

14

 Nov 18, 2009 at 10:17 PM esther Says:

Reply to #9  
Anonymous Says:

Allthough I don't agree with the obamanation , its kind of radical what dov is doing...too much kahane style , I like dov he does allot of good for us in BP , this is a little crazy , just my 2 cents

listen bp,sadly your confused by this long ,finstere galus. bp is not yerushalayim.only yerushalayim is yereushalayim! thanks to all the "piece" deals and continuous piece overtures,the arabs think they can even have our ere hakodesh;that it's coming to them for goodness sake.the more we give,the more violent and deadly they become RL.

15

 Nov 18, 2009 at 10:39 PM Crazy Says:

Crazy Americans always making trouble. Wasn't it last week with the crazy American terrorist in EY?

16

 Nov 18, 2009 at 11:28 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #13  
Yossi Says:

It's sad the way everybody is thinking but the gemara in ms' ktibot tells us very clearly what the punishment is...

The gemoro in Kesubos doesn't say a single word about yidden not being allowed to buy houses in Yerusholayim. You should worry more about the gemoro in Eruvin, which is halocho lemaaseh lechol hadei'os, and which says that if goyim threaten a town on the border of a Jewish-inhabited region anywhere in the world, then they must be resisted even on Shabbos, and even if they promise that they have peaceful intentions.

17

 Nov 19, 2009 at 04:30 AM GG Jew Says:

I am neither American nor Israeli but it seems clear to me that Mr Hikind, for all the good work he does in BP, has no business making such overtly political moves in another country. If he wanted to go buy himself a holiday home in Israel then fine, but how is it his business to make a whole tour and show of it? As a public figure in the US he should remain slightly more neutral, at least in public, for the good of his constituents back home. If he wants to up sticks and become a settler then good luck to him, but not at the same time.

18

 Nov 19, 2009 at 03:48 AM Jewish Jerusalem Says:

Since the Arabs believe and will convince the world that all of Jerusalem is theirs, those who have apartments in Rechavia, Sharei Chesed, Bayit Vegan, Sanhedria, Givat Shaul and beyond the greenline Har Nof are in danger. Jerusalem was given to the Yidden for their capital and place of the future bais hamikdash. Thank hashem there are geborim like Dov and his kehilla that will find time in a trip to EYisroel to erect a corner stone in a new neighborhood. There is a major zechus to own property and even more so to live in Yerushaylaim. Wonder how many of you are speaking angrily from jealousy and envy??? Baruch Hashem to see Yerushaylim growning, flouirshing and full of yiddishish kinder.
Dov, find time to make even more 'corner stone' happenings.

19

 Nov 19, 2009 at 02:17 AM esther Says:

Reply to #12  
Anonymous Says:

Wonderful, a New York Assemblyman conidering buying a vacation condo in Israel so as to help start another Intafada....We should be kvelling that our New York legislators have nothing better to do while the state budget is falling apart and he is meddling in foreign policy matters

securing yerushalayim for yidden is not stam foreign policy and in the great scheme of things is far more important then the current economic situation.a jew shouldn't be able to buy property and live in eretz yisroel? do you really think any amount of diplomacy or appeasement will ever bring real peace?

20

 Nov 19, 2009 at 01:59 AM Anonymous Says:

dov the last time you ran for office it was is NY Not in Jersulem

21

 Nov 19, 2009 at 12:51 AM Chany Says:

Reply to #6  
yoelg Says:

Dov: what abbout hisgars beims? dont take out the palestitn from ther hole, we dont need more teror attect, sham on you dov

Only a Yoely would write comments like this, come up just throwing out some taking points w/o bothering to explain and back it up by facts. Had I been the PM in Isreal I would give Meah Shearim for the Palestinian 'State' let them feel what their brothers and sisters felt in Gush Katif or any other evacuated 'settlement'. (na I wouldn't really do it I don't wanna get eggs and pebbles in my face)

22

 Nov 18, 2009 at 07:55 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
yoelg Says:

Dov: what abbout hisgars beims? dont take out the palestitn from ther hole, we dont need more teror attect, sham on you dov

On the contrary when we are wimps we attract terror attacks.

23

 Nov 18, 2009 at 07:51 PM bp boy Says:

Shame on you dov ! How about bldg some houses in bp for your commu! I'm sure you would not get so much coverge maybe that's why u don't build here

24

 Nov 19, 2009 at 10:10 AM Allan Says:

Reply to #17  
GG Jew Says:

I am neither American nor Israeli but it seems clear to me that Mr Hikind, for all the good work he does in BP, has no business making such overtly political moves in another country. If he wanted to go buy himself a holiday home in Israel then fine, but how is it his business to make a whole tour and show of it? As a public figure in the US he should remain slightly more neutral, at least in public, for the good of his constituents back home. If he wants to up sticks and become a settler then good luck to him, but not at the same time.

Point here I beleive is that he made a public show of his intentions to show his support of Israel and at the same time contempt for the words of Obama which i'm sure he disagrees with...and I also do. Until and G-D forbid when Obama takes away all our rights Americans can and will speak out against him. Thank you Dov!

25

 Nov 19, 2009 at 10:42 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
Anonymous Says:

These theatrics make great photo ops but they complicate the president's efforts to achieve a just peace settlement for EY and the Palestinians. If more bloodshed is what he wants, than this is a great symbolic achievement but I doubt it will do much for the security of jews living in Israel.

you are totally off base!!! a Jew who stands for Emes is a Jew who is respected and will be guided and protected by Hashem. A Jew who ch'v tries to appease his enemy by compromising truth will not succeed and endangers klal Yisroel. Your statement is so typical of the Jew of yesteryear ......"go quietly into the ovens ch'v"......... remember Eretz Yisroel belongs to the Yidden and it is not ours to give away!!!! The Lubavitcher Rebbe zt'l was so firm on this - he did not waiver one fraction of an inch - He had the respect of the governments both here and abroad - precisely for the fact that he did not waiver - I think you should crawl out of your bed and face the morning.

26

 Nov 19, 2009 at 11:24 PM baskedoshim Says:

Reply to #25  
Anonymous Says:

you are totally off base!!! a Jew who stands for Emes is a Jew who is respected and will be guided and protected by Hashem. A Jew who ch'v tries to appease his enemy by compromising truth will not succeed and endangers klal Yisroel. Your statement is so typical of the Jew of yesteryear ......"go quietly into the ovens ch'v"......... remember Eretz Yisroel belongs to the Yidden and it is not ours to give away!!!! The Lubavitcher Rebbe zt'l was so firm on this - he did not waiver one fraction of an inch - He had the respect of the governments both here and abroad - precisely for the fact that he did not waiver - I think you should crawl out of your bed and face the morning.

With your comment "go quietly etc."you are desecrating the memory of six million. Do you think even ONE of them could have escaped the fate destined for them by fighting back? (As if that was even possible'

27

 Nov 20, 2009 at 07:21 AM Anonymous Says:

i was on the trip with dov hikind. it was the most amazing trip i ever took and i have been to israel over 20 times. jewish protesters told us to go home. i answered them that i am home.

28

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