Hanevi’im Street: A Rich Past and Bright Future
Rechov Hanevi’im in Jerusalem is a long block with a rich past, presently undergoing enormous transition, and anticipating a very bright future.
Located behind Jaffa Street starting opposite the Old City’s Sha’ar Shechem (Damascus Gate) and running northwest past Safra Square until Kikar Davidka (Davidka Square) in Central Jerusalem, Rechov Hanevi’im was created in the mid-nineteenth century and housed many important and architecturally beautiful buildings, including monasteries, government buildings, residences, hotels, and many hospitals and consulates. In fact, before it received its official name at the beginning of the British Mandate, it was called both the Hospitals Street and the Consular Street. Practically every building on the block has its own rich history.
Starting in 1929 with the Arab riots in Jerusalem and Chevron, the block started to deteriorate. Some of the Jewish homes and synagogues were destroyed in the riots and tragically19 Jews were killed. In the aftermath, not all of the areas were repopulated. Then, in 1936, the Arabs began a 3-year revolt; in response, the British military evacuated a number of the Jewish communities and Hanevi’im became the border between the Jewish communities on the western side and the Arabs on the east. Finally, after the British left in 1948 and until the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967, parts of Hanevi’im Street served as the border between Israel and Jordanian–controlled Jerusalem and the block had to be evacuated due to constant sniper fire.
In 1967, the entire block came back into Jewish hands and for a long while the neighborhood remained in disarray. However, over the past few years, the situation has changed radically and the neighborhood has truly started the process of gentrification. The municipality has upzoned the area to enhance the properties’ value, and has issued permits to construct large residential projects. Although these new buildings are going to change the character of the block, it has more importantly made the area relevant again. Currently there are a number of luxurious new developments under construction or about to break ground, totaling approximately 400 units plus two hotels. The buildings cater to vacationers and an older set of permanent residents who don’t need communal facilities such as schools, and who look forward to enjoying access to all the wonderful synagogues, shopping and cultural establishments in central Jerusalem, in addition to easy access to the Old City.
Africa Israel is developing a total of 270 units in two neighborhood projects: at 7 Harav Kook Street, located next door to the Ticho House, and Nevi’im Court near the Russian Compound. Yishai Breslauer, head of their North American marketing team, extolled the buildings’ architectural beauty, explaining that they “have been designed to incorporate the motifs and grandeur of the neighborhood in its heyday 100 years ago.”
My clients looking to acquire vacation apartments are starting to get comfortable with buying in this old-new area, and I am excited to be witnessing the rebirth of the Hanevi’im community.
Gedaliah Borvick is the founder of My Israel Home, a real estate agency focused on helping people from abroad buy and sell homes in Israel. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.