Ir David (meaning City of David) is an area of East Jerusalem annexed by Israel at the end of the Six Day War and part of the Arab village of Silwan. Excavations there have found remnants of historic Jerusalem dating back to the time of King David. These include Hezekiah’s tunnel, which carried water from a spring under the walls of old Jerusalem so it would still have water during a siege, and various ruined buildings. The site is a popular tourist destination and, up until 2009, was part of LJY-Netzer’s Israel Tour.
In 2010 on a Bogrim trip to Israel LJY-Netzer visited the Wadi Hilweh Information Centre in Silwan. A very different picture was painted, one in which Arab residents of Silwan are being forced out of their homes by Elad, the organization running Ir David so that excavations can take place. We were shown many examples of where the underground excavations have damaged the property of the Palestinians still living in the village. Moreover the very scientific nature of the archeology going on within the site has been called into question as ideologically motivated and not peer reviewed. Elad does not allow external organizations in to verify the accuracy of their findings.
In 2011 LJY-Netzer movement workers returned to Silwan whilst on a trip with Yachad (a pro-Israel, pro-peace organization) and saw that the dishonest tactics being used against the Arab residents of Silwan is still going on and that very little progress had been made.
Following this, the LJY-Netzer movement worker team did its own independent research and, concluding that Elad’s actions go very much against LJY-Netzers Reform Zionist ideology, took the matter to Veidah where a motion to boycott Ir David and Elad passed with an overwhelming majority.
LJY-Netzer strives towards co-operation and coexistence in line with our Reform Zionist ideology. Ir David and Elad represent a side of Israel which we don’t support and for the reasons mentioned above we no longer visit Ir David.
Update: Following on from this in 2012 Israel Tour madrachim and future Movement Workers visited Silwan, hearing first hand accounts from residents about the unjustified eviction from homes and child arrests.
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