The village of Kfar HaShiloah was established on a bare Jerusalem hillside in the 1880s
The fact that Jews have been moving into the 'Arab' village of Silwan, overlooking the old city of Jerusalem on its south side, has attracted media attention lately, much of it implying Jews are interlopers. But few reports have bothered to delve into the history of the area.
JERUSALEM (JTA) — Jewish and Arab residents of the Jerusalem
neighborhood of Silwan disagree on whether the neighborhood is
historically Jewish or Arab. They disagree about whether Israeli Jews
should be living there. They even disagree on what to call one of the
main streets in the neighborhood, a predominantly Arab area just outside
the walls of the Old City.
The approximately 50,000 Arab residents of Silwan call it Wadi Hilweh
Street, after one of the neighborhood’s districts. The 700 or so Jewish
residents call it Maalot Ir David Street, or “Ascent to the City of
David Street,” after the adjacent archaeological site containing remains
of King David’s Jerusalem.
The dispute over the street name is emblematic of tensions that have
existed here since Jews first began acquiring property in the
neighborhood more than 20 years ago. But they rose significantly last
week after about 200 Jews moved into 25 apartments in Silwan in the
middle of the night.