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The man behind the building permits in Jerusalem

Who is Yonatan Yosef?

Jerusalem24 – “You are against God, you are against the Bible!” yelled an angry young man at the families of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied Jerusalem. Yonatan Yosef was standing in front of the Palestinian homes with a group of religious Jews as he yelled at the Palestinians who are refusing to leave their homes.

Yonatan Yosef standing in front of the homes of the Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood in Occupied Jerusalem. 

In the last hearing regarding the homes of the Palestinians, the Israeli Supreme Court presented both the families and the Israeli settlement associations a “compromise.” That the families recognize that their homes belong to the associations, in turn they become “protected tenants” and pay the associations rent. However, earlier this week, on Tuesday, the families organized a press conference where they released a press statement.

Statement of the families of Sheikh Jarrah on the issue of the settlement presented by the Israeli High Court of Justice.

The statement said, “we stand firm in our refusal to compromise on our rights despite the lack of institutional guarantees that would protect our presence as Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem.” The Israeli settler associations have been trying to evict these families for years. The statement also touched upon the Israeli Supreme Court’s compromise, saying that “Such compromises create the illusion of the ball in our court, fabricating a framing in which we reject a “generous deal,” in a situation where our dispossession would still be imminent and our homes would still be regarded as someone else’s.”

Which brings us back to Yonatan Yousef, a Jerusalem Municipality Council Member, standing in front of the Palestinian homes to tell that they are against God, the Bible and the Qur’an.

Before becoming a Municipality Council Member, Yosef was the spokesperson for the Israeli settlers living in Sheikh Jarrah. He sees the settlement of Jews in the neighborhoods of East Jerusalem as a religious duty and an integral part of the Jewish “Return to Zion.”

Yonatan Yosef speaking of Israeli settler ambitions, you can view the entire video here

According to Yonatan, the eviction of Palestinian families is a necessary side effect in this effort. “Our dream is that all East Jerusalem will be like West Jerusalem:” Yonatan says, “A Jewish capital of Israel.”

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in Jerusalem, September 2012. (Photo Credit: Flash90)

Yonatan is the grandson of  Ovadia Yosef, founder and long-time spiritual leader of Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Shas party. In 2010, Ovadia Yosef cursed the Palestinians as “evil, bitter enemies of Israel”. Yosef had also called Arabs “vipers”, and called for Israel to “annihilate” them. He also called said that it is “forbidden to be merciful to them (Palestinians/Arabs).

A Municipality Council member since 2019, Yonatan deals with the building permits in the city of Jerusalem. According to statistics released through requests from Peace Now, an Israeli settlement watchdog organization, the average number of permits granted annually to Palestinians was 340, compared to 780 for Jews. Despite Palestinians making up over 60% of the people living in East Jerusalem.






Mohammad Hamayel

Ramallah based journalist, Mohammad graduated from Al-Quds University with a B.A. in Media and Television. He has covered the 2015 Jerusalem Intifada as well as the Great March of Return for international media outlets. currently an editor/presenter at Jerusalem24. A UN alumni and a follower of global events and politics, especially American affairs.

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