Israel's leading daily newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, ran a feature story this week warning that the nation's capital is quietly changing from "Jerusalem of Gold" to "Jerusalem of Hamas."
It seems the Palestinian terrorist organization has been successfully establishing itself as the municipal director of the eastern half of Jerusalem in recent years.
According to an indictment brought against Hamas in the Jerusalem District Court, the terror group has succeeded in mobilizing activists in a variety of fields, including religious, education and financial services. The goal has been to "bring the local Palestinian population closer to the ideology of Hamas...and to build institutions with the aim of advancing its goals and expanding its circle of supporters."
In order to accomplish this, Hamas literally established an alternative municipality in eastern Jerusalem. With the Arab areas divided into seven sectors, Hamas officials were busy providing services and assistance to local residents as though they run the city.
Hamas has also been organizing educational and other social events as a means of disseminating its message.
Israeli officials see in all this an effort to emulate the success of Lebanon's Hezbollah, a terrorist militia that through a combination of social services and brute force managed to reach the highest levels of political power.