The Renaissance-style building on 29 Rechov Shivtei Yisrael, corner of 34 Rechov Hanevi’im, was built between 1911 and 1917. It started out as the
Hospital of the , and was managed by nuns. During
World War I, because Mission Italy
was an enemy of ,
the Turks seized the building. Turkey
The British took over the building during Mandatory times and used the
during World War
I to headquarter the British Royal Air Force. Three years later, when the
British began leaving Italian
Hospital Palestine, both the Arabs
and the Hagana tried to “grab” this strategic property
near the border with eastern .
Fortunately, the Hagana discovered the exact time of the British pull-out and
the Jews were able to take over the building. Jerusalem
During the War of Independence it was a frontal Israeli firing post, facing the Jordanian Legion.
Following the war, the building functioned as a home for the mentally deficient. The Ministry of
Education occupied it in 1963. On the door of the former chapel of the
is an enormous mezuzah to show that the structure is now a Jewish building. Italian
On the corner of Hanevi’im and Shivtei Yisrael streets — diagonally opposite the
— stands an arresting
edifice that dates back to 1885. The building was constructed by a Swiss
Protestant missionary named Jacob Johannes Frutiger. He called it “Machanayim” and engraved the name above the door. The
name comes from a passsuk in Bereishis (32:3): “Yaakov said when he saw them, ‘This is a G-dly camp!’ So he called the name of that place Machanayim.” Italian Hospital
Atop the roof is a high balcony that offered its residents and guests a splendid view of the
Frutiger became one of the richest bankers in Eretz Yisrael, but when he
started to suffer from forgetfulness (possibly Alzheimer’s), his son took over the bank. However, his son was soon arrested for
not carrying a lantern at night. This Turkish law assumed that anyone without a
light was bent on disreputable purposes. Old City
His imprisonment did little to repair the standing of the bank, whose reputation was ruined, and as a result the family had to sell the house. Menachem Ussishkin, director of the Jewish National Fund, bought it and lived there from 1922 until 1927. Eventually, Lord Herbert Plumertook, the
British High Commissioner, took over the gorgeous domicile. Ussishkin was so upset that when he built ahouse in Rehavia, he emblazoned “Machanayim” above the door!
At a later date the original Machanayim house became the Evelina de Rothschild School. Today it houses offices of the Israeli Ministry of Education.
At 26 Rechov Hanevi’im there is a private balcony from where (at a certain angle) the makom Hamikdash can be seen.
In front of the new apartment block at 26-aleph Rechov Hanevi’im is a small memorial garden with a few benches. It is dedicated to Daniel Bitton, a 42-yearold bus driver who was killed, together with 25 other Jews, in a suicide bombing on a No. 18 bus travelling down
near the Jerusalem Central Bus Station, on Feb. 25, 1996. A few days later, on
March 3, 1996, an additional 19 people were murdered by a suicide bomber on
another 18 bus.
The U.S. Consulate General, founded in the
in 1844, relocated to an address near the beginning of Rechov Hanevi’im in the late 19th century. In 1912, it moved to its present address on
Old City Agron Street.
Overlooking the busy Kvish Chail Handasah (Highway 1), at the corner of
Street, is Mitzpe Tomer. The lookout’s name commemorates a 19-yearold Israeli border police officer,
Mordechai Tomer, who was killed when a traveling car bomb detonated in April 2002.
Directly ahead, looking out from Mitzpe Tomer, is the site where Kiryah Ne’emanah (Batei Nissan Beck) was founded in 1879. Chassidim purchased this area in order to build the ninth colony founded beyond the
walls. Thirty houses
were built by the chassidim, and the other half of was built up by Persian
Jews. Other neighbourhoods for Syrian Jews and Jews who came from Old
built in the area. In all, there were 200 homes. Georgia
During the 1929 Arab riots, the Kiryah Ne’emanah area was subjected to terrible Muslim fury. The residents were murdered and plundered by the Arabs. Three of the eight shuls of the area were vandalized and then set on fire. After the riots, only a handful of Jews returned, and Muslims and Christians occupied the rest of the homes. These Jews also suffered from Arab terror in the 1936 Arab riots. In 1948, the last of the Jews in the neighbourhood left the area, escaping before the Arab forces occupied eastern
Jerusalem and the .
Today a few brave families have come to live in the area among the Arabs. Old City
From 1948 until 1967, the eastern end of Rechov Hanevi’im, which forms a triangle with the
Old City walls
and the southern side of the neighbourhood of Musrara, was part of the no-man’s-land between Israel
The area was returned to Jordan Israel
with the reunification of
after the miraculous Six Day War. Jerusalem
In the late 1980s, it was proposed to widen the narrow, two-lane Rechov Hanevi’im into a 32-meter-wide superhighway. This would have entailed the destruction of historic garden-courtyard buildings lining the street, and the plan encountered stiff opposition from
alternative proposal suggested laying the highway across the courtyards while
retaining the outer stone walls, to maintain the 19th century character of the
street. Neither idea has come to fruition. Jerusalem