Armenians and Jews


I’ve always been fascinated with the Armenians who live in the Old City.  The tall hats in the shape of Mt. Ararat, particularly appropriate this week since we just read the story of Noah on Saturday and the secrecy about their quarter in the Old City.  I should explain that I am here partly for a reunion for my very first trip to Israel when I came two weeks after the 1967 War (6 Day War) when I was 16 years old.  One of the participants moved to Israel and is a tour guide so he guided our group for a few days to some interesting sites, some of which are a bit off the usual track.  This is part of one of them.   Getting back to the Armenians, they are believed to have first settled in Jerusalem in the 4th century.  Their numbers swelled after the genocide in the early 20th century though their numbers have declined steadily and are at about 2000 today.  The Jewish quarter is also today inhabited by about 2000 people though the Jewish community is thriving more than the Armenians.  Inhabitants of both quarters are for the most part very religious though the Armenians are much more private and secretive.  They do not let visitors enter their section.  Both communities within the Old City were lively areas in the 19th century and unfortunately the Jewish Quarter was decimated in the War of Independence in 1948, only allowed to return after 1967 when Israel retook the Old City from Jordan.

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