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Ezrat Yisrael

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Title: Ezrat Yisrael  
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Subject: 1892 establishments in the Ottoman Empire, Givat Massuah, Shimon HaTzadik, Zikhron Yosef, Ramat Sharett
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Ezrat Yisrael

Historical buildings on Ezrat Yisrael Street

Ezrat Yisrael (Hebrew: עזרת ישראל‎, "Help of Israel") is a historical neighborhood and modern-day street in western Jerusalem. The neighborhood consisted of buildings on either side of a lane, today named Ezrat Yisrael Street. The street is blocked on one end and opens onto Jaffa Road on the other end.


According to the foundation deed,[1] the name of the neighborhood was derived from two verses in the Book of Psalms:[2]

My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth (Psalms 121:2)
May He send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion (Psalms 20:3)


Ezrat Yisrael is a northeast-southwest street that runs perpendicular to Jaffa Road. It is located one block west of the intersection of Jaffa Road and vertices of the Downtown Triangle cultural and commercial district.[3] It is a blocked street that opens only onto Jaffa Road.[4] Above the blocked end stands the International Evangelical Church, which faces Street of the Prophets.[2]


The Ezrat Yisrael neighborhood was founded in 1892 by Rabbi Yaakov Meir, Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Mandatory Palestine,[4] together with local activists. One reason that historians give for the founding of the neighborhood at this location was that at the time, a group of non-Jews wished to purchase the lot. Rabbi Meir called on Jerusalem activists and neighborhood-builders Nissim Elyashar, Moshe Meltzer, and Yosef Rivlin to come up with the money to buy it for Jewish settlement. The land, measuring over 5,000 cubits, was purchased at a price of 10 francs per cubit.[4]

Another reason given for the founding of the neighborhood in this location was the desire to establish a continuous Jewish presence from the Even Yisrael neighborhood south of Jaffa Road to the neighborhood of Mea Shearim further north.[5]

Historians differ on the total number of homes built in 1892 – estimates range from 20 to 26 to 30.[6] Over time, additional stories were added to the buildings.[5]

At the beginning of the 20th century, scientific installations began to appear in Palestine. In 1904 a chemical laboratory opened in Ezrat Yisrael.[7] In 1912 one of the first advertisements for Jewish dentists in Jerusalem was placed in HaOr, informing the public that a dentist was receiving patients in the courtyard of a pharmacist in Ezrat Yisrael.[8]

Notable residents

Israeli writer Yehuda Burla (1886-1969) lived in Ezrat Torah as a child and wrote about the neighborhood in his stories.[2]

Abraham Moses Luncz, who resided in the Even Yisrael neighborhood on the opposite side of Jaffa Road, operated a printing press in a house at the beginning of the street.[2]

In 1910 the neighborhood was home to Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, Rachel Yanait, David Ben-Gurion, and Yisrael Shohet, editors of the Poalei Zion weekly newspaper Ahdut ("Unity").[1][2]

Masonic Temple

Masonic Temple on Ezrat Yisrael Street

In 1931 a Masonic Temple was founded at 13 Ezrat Yisrael Street, near the north end of the lane.[9] The building was initiated by Arieh Levy and a group of Freemasons who each contributed 5,000 lira toward the construction.[10] The Temple currently houses both the Ein Hashiloach Ar"i Lodge #26 and Ar"i Lodge #27. Members meet twice monthly and meetings are conducted in Hebrew.[9] One block further west of Ezrat Yisrael Street, the intersection of Jaffa Road and Raoul Wallenberg Street was designated Freemason Square (Hebrew: ככר הבונים החפשיים‎) by the Jerusalem municipality.[10]


  1. ^ a b Wager (1988), p. 215.
  2. ^ a b c d e Bar-Am (2007), p. 59.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c Ben-Arieh (1979), p. 273.
  5. ^ a b Ben-Arieh (1979), p. 274.
  6. ^ Ben-Arieh (1979), pp. 274, 277.
  7. ^ Ben-Arieh (1979), p. 553.
  8. ^ Ben-Arieh (1979), p. 336.
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^ a b Zadok, Tami. "Jerusalem of Stone: Finding Freemasons in Jerusalem". Segula magazine, June-July 2010, pp. 60–70.


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