Edison Theatre transformed into Satmar housing project

The theater was a symbol of Zionist secularism in the Holy Land.

The Edison Movie Theatre, once a symbol of Zionist secularism in the Holy Land, will be transformed in a 60-unit building project for Satmar Hassidim. News of the deal was first published in the haredi weekly Bekehila. The edifice, which has stood empty for about 20 years, was the scene of bloody fisticuffs between haredim from nearby Meah She'arim and secular Israelis in the late 1940's and early 1950's. Frequently the confrontations were sparked in the summer during daylight savings when Saturday night movies would begin before the Shabat was over. The burnt-out building, located on Yeshayahu Street in downtown Jerusalem, was bought two years ago by an American Satmar Hassid for $5 million. In coming months it will be razed and in the summer building will commence. A spokesman for the Edah Haredit, an organization representing ultra-Orthodox that stubbornly resists any political, social or economic connections with the Zionist state, said the flats would be sold exclusively to Satmar Hassidim at special discounts. Kiryat Yoel Developments, named after Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum, the previous Satmar Rebbe, will be building the project.