A new project to preserve the Yemenite synagogue in the David’s Village (Silwan) neighborhood of Yerushalayim has been launched. At a ceremony Wednesday, Sport and Culture Minister Miri Regev said that the building, and the neighborhood, had been distinctly Jewish over the generations. “It is almost an emotional an experience to walk the same streets that Jews did 3,000 years ago,” she said in a speech at the event. “The Palestinians can dig as much as they want here, and they will never find even one Palestinian coin,” as opposed to the thousands of ancient Israelite coins and artifacts that the area has yielded.
The event was also attended by Yerushalayim Affairs Minister – and Yerushalayim mayoral candidate – Ze’ev Elkin, who said that “our right to this land has become an object of discussion now more than ever. We are forced to explain the obvious – that the State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people. We will always speak Hebrew, and the Israeli flag will always fly over this land, this united city, the capital of the Jewish people. Israel knows how to treat minorities fairly, and personal rights are anchored in the law,” so there was no contradiction between the right of Israel to the Land of Israel, and the rights of individuals living in the country, Elkin added.
The Heichal Shlomo Synagogue was built in 1884, and was badly damaged in the Arab riots of 1938. Arabs took the building over after the War of Independence, when the area was occupied by Jordan. The building was taken over by members of the Abu Nab family, which refused to leave after Israel liberated the area. The case to restore the building to its Jewish owners has been ongoing for several years. In 2015, Jews entered several parts of the property and restored the synagogue partially. The ceremony Wednesday marked the official beginning of a project to fully restore the building.