Ohr Somayach, an Ashkenazi haredi ba’al teshuva yeshiva founded in the 1960s and with has close ties to the iconic nearby Ashkenazi haredi Mirrer Yeshiva, reportedly wants to build the behemoth structure on an empty lot, most of which is currently owned by the Israel Lands Authority. The lot, reportedly located adjacent to a gas station, will have nine above ground stories and three more stories underground if the project is approved and built.
Ohr Somayach To Build New 103,495 Square Foot 12 Story Ba’al Teshuva Yeshiva In East Jerusalem
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
The City of Jerusalem is strongly backing a plan to build a 103,495 square foot 12-story building for Ohr Somayach, an iconic ba’al teshuva yeshiva, on a vacant plot of land in Sheikh Jarrah – an area of East Jerusalem even the city’s own planning staff insists is not suited for the project, Ha’aretz reported.
A haredi yeshiva is not the “optimal use” of the land, the city’s planning staff says, which is surrounded by a population that has “different religious characteristics” – meaning the yeshiva will be surrounded by Muslims (and some Christians) in an area that is a tinderbox for extremist tension between Muslims and Jews.
The project will also not meet the needs of Sheikh Jarrah’s existent population, the city planners say. It will also be opposed by many of those local residents (perhaps violently), and will be opposed by the US and many European countries because the land is located across the Green Line.
But the city government is reportedly pushing ahead with the Ohr Somayach project anyway.
Ohr Somayach is an Ashkenazi haredi ba’al teshuva yeshiva founded in the 1960s. It has close ties to the iconic nearby Ashkenazi haredi Mirrer Yeshiva, the largest yeshiva of any type in the world.
Ohr Somayach reportedly wants to build the behemoth structure on an empty lot, most of which is currently owned by the Israel Lands Authority. The lot, reportedly located adjacent to a gas station, will have nine above ground stories and three more stories underground if the project is approved and built.
In recent years, the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood has become a major symbol of Palestinian opposition to Israeli expansion in East Jerusalem on one hand and Israeli Jews’ property rights on the other.
Several Palestinian families have been evicted from their Sheikh Jarrah homes, and approximately 10 Palestinian families are currently fighting legal battles to block or reverse eviction orders that were reportedly issued by the government at the request of Jewish building and land owners.
However, those Jewish building and land owners are often the heirs of Jews who lived in Sheikh Jarrah before the 1948 War of Independence but who were forced to flee advancing Jordanian troops, snipers and shelling.
Sheikh Jarrah remained under Jordanian control from May of 1948 until the Six Day War in June 1967, when it was captured by Israel.
Most of Ohr Somayach’s students are newly Orthodox college age Jews who come from the US, England, Canada, South Africa and other Diaspora countries to study in Jerusalem. Along with its main campus in the city, Ohr Somayach has 11 branches scattered throughout the Diaspora.
Update 12:15 pm CST – The Jerusalem city planning board abruptly canceled today's meeting which would have dealt with the Ohr Somayach project and another controversial project that negatively impacts the city's Arab population, Ha'aretz reported, after news of the projects and the internal opposition by the city's planning professionals was published by Ha'aretz. The decision to cancel the meeting was made by politicians, not by the city's planning staff.