An archeological treasure yields controversy

‘The Jerusalem Post’ visits the City of David National Park and Archeology Center to learn about the latest discoveries there and to gain a better understanding of the dispute surrounding the site.

September 28, 2011 09:33
City of David

City of David 521. (photo credit: Courtesy City of David)


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As I follow the winding road up a steep hill, two box-shaped houses come into view. Both homes, which are well-maintained and seem fairly new, are nearly identical in their Jerusalem stone facades. The only thing that separates the two structures is a communal manicured grassy garden. Yet, I am told by my guide that the first home’s inhabitants are Jewish while the second home is an Arab dwelling. The setting described – with Jews and Arabs sharing not only property but their daily lives together, is surprisingly enough within a residential section of the City of David National Park and Archeology Center just a few hundred meters outside the Old City walls of Jerusalem. In fact about 500 residents, both Jewish and Arab, call the City of David home. Despite the evidence that the area has the potential to be a model of Jewish/ Arab coexistence in the eastern section of the city, the site is not free from controversy.

The daily archeological excavations at the City of David are being conducted by a private non-profit organization known as the Ir David Foundation, or Elad. Left-wing Jewish organizations along with Arab groups in the neighboring community of Silwan have accused Elad of being a representative of the “settlers” using archeology as a political tool to expand a Jewish presence within predominately Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem.


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