Mahane Israel

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Mamila Pool, 1854.
An alley in Mahane Israel.

Mahane Israel (Hebrew: מחנה ישראל) is the second Jewish neighborhood built outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem after Mishkenot Shaananim,[1] and the first built by residents of the Old City on their own behalf, as part of the process to "leave the walls" (Hebrew: היציאה מן החומות). Mahane Israel is a "communal neighborhood" and was built by and for Maghreb (western North Africa) Jews.

Mahane Israel was the second neighborhood established beyond the walls. It was built in 1868 by the Moroccan-born Jewish leader Rav David Ben-Shimon. Although the neighborhood was very small and the houses were poorly built, the residents were spirited and courageous. Men studied in different shifts throughout the night in the central Shul – Tzuf Devash. The Torah learning provided a spiritual shield against the dangers of the night. Also this way they were up and alert to fend off any possible surprise Bedouin attack.

The community of west North Africans[edit]

Jews from North Africa at the end of the 19th century numbered more than 2,000 persons, comprising 25% of the entire Sephardic community in Jerusalem.


Coordinates: 31°46′35.93″N 35°13′17.57″E / 31.7766472°N 35.2215472°E / 31.7766472; 35.2215472