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The Jewish Quarter

September 23, 2019

The Jewish Quarter is one of four quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem, and traditionally occupied by Jews since 800 B.C. During the Ottoman period the Jewish population reached 19,000, most of whom resided in the Jewish Quarter, although during this period there were some Muslims living there and there were also Jews living in the Muslim Quarter.

The Jewish population in the Jewish Quarter was completely eliminated during the 1948 War of Independence, when the Jewish fighters were unable to overcome the Arab forces, that bombarded and almost completely destroyed it, and all of the Jewish inhabitants were either killed or banished.

For a period of almost 20 years the Old City was controlled by Jordan.

During this time the quarter served as a refugee camp, its ancient synagogues were ransacked and ruined, and used as chicken coops or out buildings. None of the destroyed buildings were rebuilt.

Since being reoccupied by Israel after the 6 Days War in 1967, the Jewish Quarter has been extensively excavated and rebuilt.

Excavations that commenced prior to rebuilding, have uncovered such gems as a luxury neighborhood from the time of King Herod, the Byzantine Cardo, the Broad Wall – part of the ramparts guarding the city during the first temple period and of course the Western Wall, which is part of the outer second temple wall, and one of the main attractions of the Jewish Quarter.

All of these and many more can be seen underground and in the archeological parks, while overhead the destroyed buildings and synagogues have been rebuilt and resettled, maintaining the architecture and style of the Old City.

There are currently over 2000 Jewish inhabitants in the Jewish Quarter, which also houses many Yeshivas (schools for teaching Jewish lore) and restored synagogues.

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