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Friday, March 12, 2010

In Ramat Shlomo, they wonder what the fuss is about

In Ramat Shlomo (bottom left) this week, most people are wondering what the fuss is about.

Eli Diskin, a Ramat Shlomo resident and real estate developer who was involved with the first wave of building that swept the neighborhood in the early 1990s, told The Jerusalem Post that 1,600 new housing units “wouldn’t even be enough” to deal with the overflowing population of the neighborhood.

“I don’t think it even needs to be explained,” Diskin said.

“Construction in Ramat Shlomo began in 1993, and now there are 2,200 families or roughly 16,000 people living here,” he continued.

“Each family averages between seven and eight members, and frankly, there is nowhere left for people to live. If someone gets married, if they have more kids, where are they supposed to go? They have to leave the neighborhood,” he said, adding, “And if we can’t build here, where are we supposed to build?”

Diskin’s sentiments were echoed by every other Ramat Shlomo resident who spoke to the Post on Wednesday.

“If this is not an inseparable part of Jerusalem, than what is?” asked Pini Gamliel, a shopkeeper on the neighborhood’s HaAdmor M’Lubavitch Street. “Where do they want us to put our houses?”
The numbers I have heard - for the record - are 22,000-23,000 people with an average of eight children per family. And then there are all the people renting storage rooms made over into small apartments.

Nearby, at a Chabad synagogue constructed as an exact duplicate of the entrance to the hassidic movement’s famous yeshiva at 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn [the red brick building that is prominent in the picture. CiJ], Mendy Hechtman told the Post that he felt American diplomats and others critical of the decision to continue building in Ramat Shlomo should come and see the neighborhood for themselves.

“Once you get here, you can easily see that this is simply another neighborhood in Jerusalem,” Hechtman said. “But the media makes it seem like this is some kind of far-removed settlement, when in reality it’s right next to Ramot.”
Yes, Ramot, which is several times its size, is further out than Ramat Shlomo.

What you can't see here, but which is obvious even to amateurs like me, is how important the ridge on which Ramat Shlomo sits would be in the case of any military conflict. That's because it overlooks - and has a clean shot - at every major highway in the city. To give one example, there's a road going across the bottom of that second picture which is known as "Road 9." Road 9 runs (look at this on the top map) from French Hill to the entrance to Ramot. It has three exits: Ramat Shlomo, the 'Cedar Tunnel' road that connects with the Jerusalem - Tel Aviv highway, and the road that is Menachem Begin Boulevard criss-crossing the city to the south and Route 443 to the north. Those roads are critical for city traffic.

What I will try to get pictures to show you on Sunday is how an army unit stationed atop Ramat Shlomo would have a clear shot at every one of those roads (and more).


At 11:01 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

Thank you. Do you think someone in the IL govt could do a combination title search map and line of sight map all along there? You're starting on the exact materials that would help in hasbara...

At 12:15 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel should have announced plans to build 50,000 homes in Ramat Shlomo for only half the criticism.

Stupid Jews keep it small and still get grief from the world!

At 12:08 AM, Blogger Sunlight said...

A GIS layer, complete with elevation/topographic and line of sight info...

At 7:05 AM, Blogger Batya said...

Carl, I'm looking for a clear map of Ramat Shlomo in relation to other Jerusalem neighborhoods.

At 2:46 PM, Blogger Louie said...

Hey, thanks for the informative post. I live in KFar HaStudentim in Har HaTzofim, and I got into a little internet spat regarding the significance of the Ramat Shlomo building during Biden's visit. Your page came up as the first result when I looked for a map to explain this issue to some Redditors, and it proved to be extremely helpful. Thanks for going out of your way to write materials that are useful to us Israelis (er, near-Israelis) who are trying to explain our perspectives to the rest of the world. The good work you do does not go unappreciated.


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