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MembersShimon the Just or Saladin’s Healer Sheikh Jarrah?

What are the Jews and Palestinians actually arguing about in the Jerusalem neighborhood that the Palestinians call Sheikh Jarrah and the Jews call Shimon the Just?

Police clash with left-wing activists and Palestinian protesters in Sheikh Jarrah (Shimon Ha'Zadik) neighborhood.
Police clash with left-wing activists and Palestinian protesters in Sheikh Jarrah (Shimon Ha'Zadik) neighborhood. Photo: Jamal Awad/Flash90

Two tombs are causing a dispute two kilometers north of Jerusalem’s Old City, the 13th-century Muslim tomb of Sheikh Jarrah and the 3rd-century BC Jewish tomb of Shimon (Simeon) the Just. One was the personal physician of the famous Saladin and the other was a Jewish high priest.

For decades it was fought behind the scenes in the courts of law and not in the media. Only in recent years has the dispute between Jews and Palestinians in the residential area become politicized, making headlines not only in Israel but worldwide. In May 2021, the escalation with the Gaza Strip erupted in large part because of provocation by both sides, Jews and Palestinians, in Sheikh Jarrah or Shimon the Just.

In principle, it has been legally proven that the plots of land in the so-called Arab residential area of ​​Sheikh Jarrah were acquired by the Jewish community in Eretz Israel in 1875. During the Ottoman period, the Sephardic Municipal Council and the Ashkenazi General Council of the Jewish...

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