Making the old city young again

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Shepherd Hotel Torn Down
January 9, 2011| Daniel Luria

Bulldozers destroy residence of Nazi and wanted criminal Haj Amin El Husseini.
Shefer(Shepherd) Hotel project- future Jewish neighborhood ('Ramban') takes giant leap forward.

5:00 AM on Sunday 9th January will be a time to remember for many years to come. At exactly 5:00 AM, bulldozers entered the Shefer Hotel property and began to crush the old building structure. The building which was once owned by the known Nazi and wanted criminal Haj Amin El Husseini, came swiftly crumbling down. A small section of the building will be preserved, but the symbolism wasn’t lost on anyone who attended the wonderful sight.

A quick look at Husseini's CV will put everything into perspective.

Haj Amin El Husseini- Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, in early 20th century.
Wanted by British and Yugoslavian Governments.
Incited the anti Jewish riots and pogroms in 1920's and 1930's.
Responsible for death of hundreds of Jews in Palestine due to pogroms.
Escaped to Europe where he was given safe haven and befriended Hitler and Himmler.
Established the only Nazi SS unit called Hanjar , which was responsible for wiping out 90% of Yugoslavian Jewry.
Massacred over 250,000 Jews, Bosnian Serbs and Gypsies.
Received enormous funding from Nazis for personal use and for operations.
Helped found the Arab League and headed the Wahabi Muslim Brotherhood.
Helped run and fund the Odessa project, to resettle Nazi fugitives after WW11 in Arab countries.
Instrumental in passing resolution at World Islamic congress to persecute and rid Arab countries of Jews.
In 1946, Haj Amin El Husseini took on young protégé called Yassir Arafat to help take charge of his militia called the "Holy Strugglers-Freedom fighters".

Famous quotes:
Berlin speech 1944 – " Kill Jews wherever you find them. This pleases god, history and religion. God is with you."
Radio broadcast to Arabs in Palestine 1948 – " I declare a holy war, my Muslim brothers ! Murder the Jews! Murder them all !"
Husseini left a legacy of hate, murder, and genocide.

This was the owner of the house that was destroyed at 5 AM.

Some would call it poetic or historic justice. Others would call it the closing of the cycle for tens of thousands murdered by Husseini.
This writer was at the scene this morning, together with press/media from around the world and hordes of local Arabs. The Arabs were furious, with many screaming at me while I was being interviewed…making the standard claims of "….Its stolen Arab property….why are Jews moving into East Jerusalem……it belongs to the Husseini family…….Haj Amin El Husseini wasn’t a Nazi and never met Hitler……go back to Germany and the gas chambers……. and it’s a shame that Hitler didn’t finish you off…..this is Arab land…its our country…leave".

As I pointed out to a few reporters, it seems that the spirit of the Nazi Husseini still lives on today, amongst some of the Arabs in Israel.

We cannot bring back those who were murdered by Husseini, but we can 'right a wrong' and bring back Jewish life to a place, which is a symbol of hatred and death.

Many many years ago, there was a prophecy of a valley, full of dry bones (Ezekial). Slowly but surely, just as the sun rises, sinews and muscles were woven onto the bones and the people came back to life.

In 1948 the State of Israel was established. In 1967 we returned home to Jerusalem and even since then we have been strengthening Jewish roots in the heart of Jerusalem.

Today there are 215,000 Jews living in the area once known as East Jerusalem. Jews have returned to the Mount of Olives, the old Yemenite Village of Shiloach (Silwan) and Kidmat Zion and Jewish life centered around educational institutes now exists in the old Jewish Quarter of the Old City. (Today’s Moslem and Christian Quarters)

For those who are unfamiliar with the location of this project- the Shefer Hotel, it is located around the corner from the National Israeli Police Headquarters, a minutes drive from the Hadassah Hospital, the Hebrew University and old Hyatt hotel, and it is effectively adjacent to the Jewish neighborhoods of French Hill and Ramat Eshkol. It is also down the road from the old 'Shimon the Just' neighborhood. (Sheich Jarrach)

At 5 AM, the first bulldozers began crushing the building, belonging to the Nazi and hate-filled Mufti of Jerusalem, more of the valley of dry bones came to life.

Husseini wished to make Palestine and the Middle East 'Judenrein'. Today, the Nazi Mufti is simply an 'infamous' byline in history books and there is Jewish life throughout Jerusalem and Israel (Palestine-the Jewish national homeland)

G-d willing, we, the Jewish people will continue to build and love (Even while our enemies destroy and hate) and hopefully, in the near future we will see the first 20 Jewish families moving into the premises.

The Jewish People owe a great debt to those who cherish Jerusalem and who actively help, by investing and keeping "her" united and flourishing with Jewish life.

Next year in a united and rebuilt Jerusalem !!!

Daniel Luria is the Excutive Director of Ateret Cohanim