Theme Week West Jerusalem

Sunday, 14 June 2015 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Theme Weeks, Union for the Mediterranean

Mea Shearim district - Shabbat Square © Djampa/cc-by-sa-4.0

Mea Shearim district – Shabbat Square © Djampa/cc-by-sa-4.0

West Jerusalem or “New Jerusalem” refers to the section of Jerusalem that remained under Israeli control after the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, whose ceasefire lines delimited the boundary with the rest of the city, which was then under Jordanian control. A number of western countries acknowledge de facto Israeli authority, but withhold de jure recognition. Israel’s claim of sovereignty over West Jerusalem is more widely accepted than its claim over East Jerusalem. In 1980, the Israeli government annexed East Jerusalem and wanted to unify the city (Jerusalem Law) but the international community opposed this step vehemently (United Nations Security Council Resolution 478), which leads to move almost all foreign embassies to Tel Aviv. As a further result, the City Line, as part of the Green Line, is still valid today. The population of Jerusalem has largely remained segregated along the city’s historical east/west division. The city contains two populations that are “almost completely economically and politically segregated .. each interacting with its separate central business district”, supporting analysis that the city has retained a duocentric, as opposed to the traditional monocentric, structure. De jure, Tel Aviv continues to be Israel’s capital, especially since the international community tolerates, but does not acknowledge, West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital (with the ecxeption of Donald Trump, Russia (Times of Israel, 4 April 2017: In curious first, Russia recognizes West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital), Guatemala and Honduras (Washington Post, 28 December 2017: Guatemala and Honduras sided with Trump on Jerusalem. Here’s why.) and Australia (The Guardian, 15 December 2018: Australia recognises West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital but holds back on embassy move).

West Jerusalem represents the modern commercial heart of the city, having become the focus for development in Jerusalem. Many of the districts of West Jerusalem date back to the late 19th century when the Old City became no longer able to contain the city’s increasing population. Today, the government district has important state institutions such as the Knesset (Israeli Parliament), the presidential and prime minister‘s offices, several ministries, and the Supreme Court of Israel. The Israel Museum and the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum are also located in this part of the city. On the Mount Herzl in 1949 the founder of Zionism Theodor Herzl, who had died in 1903, was laid to rest. The place also serves as a national cemetery, here are u.a. the graves of former Israeli prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Golda Meir.

Mea Shearim district - Shabbat Square © Djampa/cc-by-sa-4.0 Supreme Court of Israel © flickr.com - heatkernel/cc-by-2.0 Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum © Andrew Shiva/cc-by-sa-4.0 Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum © Andrew Shiva/cc-by-sa-4.0 Knesset © Beny Shlevich/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Mea Shearim district - Shabbat Square © Djampa/cc-by-sa-4.0
The city center of West Jerusalem is a triangle fomed by three streets: Ben Yehuda Street (a pedestrian mall), Jaffa Road on which the light rail runs, and King George Street which runs perpendicular to Jaffa and carries many bus routes. The three corners of this triangle are Zion Square, the Jaffa Center light rail stop, and the Horse Park (after a whimsical sculpture of a horse there). West Jerusalem’s shopping, hotels, nightlife, and some museums are concentrated here. In addition to the usual range of stores for residents, there are many Judaica and tourist-oriented shops here. This area is a 5 minute walk west of the Old City in East Jerusalem.

Mahane Yehuda Market (the Shuk) is the main outdoor market of West Jerusalem. Large, loud, and labyrinthine, the market boasts a huge number of stalls, generally open 8 to 8 Sunday to Thursday, 8 to 3 Fridays, closed Shabbat. Fresh produce, pastries, salads abound. Definitely the place for a bargain and a unique insight into traditional Israeli culture. When the shops close in the evening, the night life opens up – in the last few years the Shuk has become a destination for bars, restaurants, and music at night. Mamilla Mall on the border between West and East Jerusalem. This was an important commercial zone before 1948, but then became a DMZ between Israeli and Jordanian forces. After 1967 Mamilla was rebuilt, and now it is a beautiful pedestrian mall lined by upscale stores, fitting in perfectly with West Jerusalem on one end and Jaffa Gate on the other. Malha Mall is West Jerusalem’s main indoor shopping mall. Usually very crowded.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on Times of Israel, 29 January 2019: Israel advances controversial cable car to Jerusalem’s Old City, Wikivoyage Westjerusalem and Wikipedia West Jerusalem (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.








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