Thursday, March 02, 2023

Arab News reports:

Dozens of Palestinian parents staged protests in East Jerusalem on Saturday over plans by Israeli authorities to merge two schools in the Old City.

Parents joined protests at the Omariya and Mawlawi schools to speak out against what they said was an unjust and dangerous decision that might lead to an emptying of schools in the Old City.

Jerusalemite activist Ahmed Al-Safadi said the Israeli move is designed to turn the Al-Qadisiyah school building near Bab Al-Sahira into a school for settlers.

Jerusalemites have condemned Israeli education proposals as “racist.”

Israeli authorities have threatened to withdraw the licenses of some schools and forced principals to sign a petition obliging them not to teach the Palestinian curriculum.

Abu Ziyad, a lawyer, writer and former minister of Jerusalem affairs in the Palestinian government, told Arab News: “If the goal of the Israelis is to control the Omariya school, then it is an ancient building and an Islamic Awaqaf, and it forms one of the borders of Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

It is possible to control the northern squares of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock through this step, he said.
The school is administered by Israel's Education Ministry, as a virtual walk using Google Street Maps shows. 

I cannot say if or why Israel might be consolidating the two schools.  Perhaps attendance is down; according to this article, only one floor of three is used for classrooms. 

The school was built on top of the remains of the Antonia Fortress built by Herod to protect the Second Temple from the north.

In 1996, deadly riots broke out when Israel opened up an ancient tunnel whose exit was directly under this school. 

The main floor is built into the northern wall surrounding the Temple Mount. The upper floors have a stunning view of the Mount:

In the 19th century, when Jews and Christians were banned from the Mount by the tolerant Muslims, this would be the spot from which non-Muslims would view the Mount:

View of the Temple Mount. Painting by William Henry Bartlett from 1843

I don't know the legal issues of ownership. Muslims say this is Waqf property, Israeli apparently says it belongs to the Jerusalem Municipality. A close look at the school sign indicates that it does belong to Jerusalem.

If the latter is true, this would be an awesome spot for a shul!

One very interesting footnote: While the Muslims are saying that any Jewish presence at the school is unthinkable, the school accepts lots of money from The Jerusalem Foundation for upkeep and renovations. 

. The Jerusalem Foundation renovated the school auditorium, which served as a venue for school and larger community cultural events, in 1972. It later supported renovations to the school library (which opened as a public library branch in 1968) and renovations to the school courtyard. It undertook a major renovation project that included repair of the building’s electrical system, installation of the school’s first central heating system, improvements to the courtyard and installation of play equipment in 1992.
The donors to repair and improve the school? Nehemia and Naomi Cohen, and William and Lisa Wishnick, both American Jewish philanthropists.

The Muslims might not want Jews to be there, but they sure have no problem with Jewish money. 

(h/t GnasherJew)

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