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Beit Safafa: reception of new apartments and presentation of keys
JERUSALEM – A new residential complex in Beit Safafa (a small neighborhood in South Jerusalem) is at the finishing stages. The first apartments are available. Last Thursday – February 21 – nine of the future occupying families were on hand to receive the keys from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. This building project aims to strengthen the Christian presence in Jerusalem.
The presentation of the keys of the first units of the new building complex was held last Thursday at the Latin Patriarchate in a festive atmosphere that reflected the future residents’ joy. Present were the nine new occupants. All were proud and happy. At the end of March, more families will receive their keys pending the final finishing touches. An official opening is planned for sometime this Spring in the presence of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Fouad Twal.
Building not to emigrate
In the end, 80 apartments will be delivered to occupants who are mostly Christian or of the Muslim confession (2 families),“to create more friendliness,” according to Bishop Shomali, Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem, who initiated this project. His vision was to assist Christians of Jerusalem – especially young couples – to acquire stable housing in order to motivate them to stay in the Holy Land, to stop emigration caused by the difficult socio-political situation and to ensure that they would have a better quality of life and dignity. That is why the Patriarchate has decided to invest in the project, thereby meeting the urgent need of housing “for the Palestinian community in general and the Christian community in particular” emphasized Bishop Shomali.
To say that this project is the result of Providence is not a euphemism. It must indeed be admitted that this important work has gone through a veritable obstacle course. Bishop Shomali says: “When we had this dream to build homes for young people, we had no land. When we bought the land, we did not have a building permit. Once we got it, there was no money. It was therefore necessary to borrow from a local bank and we benefited from the help of the Italian government and the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre. A plaque will honor our benefactors and also express our gratitude to them.”
It took a little less than ten years to complete this kind of land project. The apartments have an area of 100m2, each with a porch, a garage and a storage room. The complex is located 1km from Tantur and enjoys a beautiful panorama nestled midway between Patt and Gilo, on the outskirts of Bethlehem.
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