E. Jerusalem Jewish kindergarten hit with firecrackers
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E. Jerusalem Jewish kindergarten hit with firecrackers

Masked men throw fireworks and stones at Ma’ale Hazeitim compound; residents chase them away

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Jewish boys play before a dedication ceremony for the Jewish neighborhood of Ma'ale HaZeitim, inside the Arab-dominated area of Ras el Amud in East Jerusalem, May 25, 2011. (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Jewish boys play before a dedication ceremony for the Jewish neighborhood of Ma'ale HaZeitim, inside the Arab-dominated area of Ras el Amud in East Jerusalem, May 25, 2011. (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Ten masked men threw firecrackers and stones at a Jewish kindergarten in East Jerusalem on Monday but were chased away by local residents.

The incident occurred in the Ma’ale Hazeitim neighborhood, a Jewish enclave near the Mount of Olives, the Hebrew media Ynet website reported.

There were no reports of injury or damage in the attack.

Members of the community gave chase, driving the assailants off.

Police and Border Police units arrived at the scene and reportedly used riot dispersal methods after being confronted by East Jerusalem residents.

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The Ma’ale Hazeitim neighborhood, located southeast of the Old City, was constructed alongside the Arab neighborhood of Ras Al-Amud, and has drawn protests from those opposing an Israeli presence in East Jerusalem. A 2011 dedication ceremony for the Jewish neighborhood, which comprises over 100 housing units, was attended by Mayor Nir Barkat and then Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin, along with government ministers and members of Knesset, but also drew a protest demonstration.

The neighborhood lies along an important geographic corridor providing access to the Old City and Temple Mount from Ras al-Amud and Bethlehem to the south.

Historically, the land that Ma’ale Hazeitim sits on was purchased from the Ottoman government by Jewish philanthropists Nissan Bak and Moshe Wittenburg in the mid-19th century. Over the next 100 years it switched use and ownership but remained in Jewish hands until the 1948 War of Independence, when it was taken over by the Jordanians. Following the 1967 Six Day War, after Israel gained control of the area, it was transferred to the Israel Lands Administration, which in turn passed it on to the Jerusalem Municipality. It was eventually sold in 1984 to Irving Moskowitz, an American millionaire who financed the existing housing development.

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