Musrara (sometimes called Morasha) is right in the middle of
Jerusalem, between the ,
Meah She’arim and the Municipal center. Today it’s importance lies – among other
reasons – in how increasing gentrification and the influx of immigrants have
changed the neighborhood dynamics. There’s amazing street art and beautiful
architecture, alongside neglected areas and rundown buildings. Every stage of
architecture, from the last 130 years, is there. And there’s some fascinating
cultural buildings and installations. Old City
But what made Musrara’s name was what happened in the 1960s and 70s there.
With the massive housing shortage after the establishment of the State, thousands of new olim (immigrants) were moved into Musrara, which was right on the border with Jordanian-held
Jerusalem. They were subject to daily attacks
from Jordanian snipers, the neighborhood was rundown and many streets were
basically open sewers.
Street, also an open sewer through the 1970s, a group
of second-generation Mizrachi Jews founded the Israeli Black Panthers. They
were a protest group against all the injustice and discrimination by the
Government, the lack of respect, the alienation and more. There were
demonstrations, riots, and significant community organizing.
After meeting with Prime Minister Golda Meir, she famously called them, “not nice people.”
The events in Musrara, and the exposure of discrimination and alienation in Israeli society among more vulnerable Israelis, were critical, I think, in helping us get to where we are today.