How Jerusalem Got Its Quarters

As anyone who has visited the Old City of Israel’s capital knows, it is divided into four sections: Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Armenian. Shlomo Deutsch explores the origins of this division, and how each quarter evolved:

The first map to include names that resemble the names of today’s four quarters (Armenian, Christian, Muslim, Jewish) was produced by the British lieutenants Edward Aldrich and Julian Simmonds in 1841, and later labeled by Rev. G. Williams in 1849. However, some of these names (Christian and Armenian) already appear in European travelers’ writings in 1806.

The Hebrew University professor Yehoshua Ben-Aryeh suggests that each religious group to move into the Old City built its community around focal points significant to its religion. . . . For Muslims, the Temple Mount, which houses the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosque, served as a major force of attraction. . . . The Christian community took root around the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Armenians, [the vast majority] of whom were Christian, were drawn by the Church of St. James, their most significant church in the Old City. The scope of the Armenian quarter is elusive, some defining it only as a certain walled-off area that was locked at nights.

Initially, the Jewish Quarter spanned from the “Street of the Jews” eastward to the Western Wall (excluding the adjacent Mughrabi neighborhood). . . . At the beginning of the 19th century, the Jewish quarter was almost entirely comprised of Sephardi Jews, with some 2,200 Sephardi Jews and a minimal number of Ashkenazim. Once Ashkenazim began moving in, they chose to settle near the Sephardim, holding their services in several Sephardi synagogues, including the Beit-El synagogue, until the Ashkenazi. community built the Menachem Tzion synagogue in 1837.

Read more at Jewish Link

More about: Jerusalem, Land of Israel, Synagogues

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy