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This report is taken from PN Review 212, Volume 39 Number 6, July - August 2013.

Numbered Stones in Jerusalem Jennie Feldman
Until recently one could get into the old school grounds by way of a gap in the crumbling wall. Once past the wild fig trees rooted in rubble, you stood on a weedy patch between the Altes Lyceum, which opened in 1878 with forty pupils, and the Neues Lyceum put up shortly afterwards. Derelict but still imposing, the two gabled stone buildings invited trespass; lively graffiti, mattresses and candle stubs signalled night revels on the rooftops. But this corner of West Jerusalem's German Colony, a neighbourhood built by the nineteenth-century Protestant Templer sect (the school was theirs), has long been eyed by developers. A few weeks ago they took it over.

The construction site, as this now is, lies between Bethlehem Road and Emek Refaim ('Valley of the Giants' or, as some prefer, 'of the Ghosts') just before the two streets merge and head north to the city centre, minutes away. For current residents of Ha-moshava ha-germanit, to use the neighbourhood's Hebrew name - its sleepy lanes and rustic, shuttered houses vaunted in all the guidebooks - the building project came as a shock. From its early days, they and others petitioned and campaigned furiously, but now there's no stopping it: a colossal twelve-storey hotel.

Already mechanical diggers are clawing at the base of the school buildings. But Bahnan, supervising it all, unfolds a master plan to show visitors how the two venerable structures will be preserved as exclusive hotel annexes. We watch micro-piles being driven, deafeningly, ...


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