JERUSALEM (JTA) — Nine Jewish families moved into the eastern Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of Silwan.
The families moved into nine apartments in two buildings late Sunday night, according to reports, bringing to 17 the number of Jewish families living in the neighborhood.
The houses were purchased for the Yemeni Community Committee in deals facilitated by the Ateret Cohanim organization, which buys eastern Jerusalem properties and moves Jews into them, Ynet reported.
A Palestinian man who bought the buildings from their Palestinian owners sold the buildings to the Jewish group, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported. The buildings have stood empty for the last four months, according to Maan.
Yemenite Jews in the 1880s founded the area in Silwan where the buildings are located but left the area in 1938 due to Arab violence.
Late last month, several Jewish families moved into buildings in Silwan, known in Hebrew as Shiloah, that were purchased by an American company and rented to the Jewish families associated with the Elad Foundation.
Zeev Orenstein, director of international affairs for the Elad Foundation, said his organization was not involved in the purchase of the buildings that the families moved into on Sunday night.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin addressed the issue on Sunday, prior to the latest move-in, during the dedication in memory of President Yitzhak Shamir of a main road leading into Jerusalem.
“Jerusalem cannot be a city in which the building is done in secret, or whereby moving into apartments is done in the dead of night,” he said.