Martin Buber Lived Here (Arab Houses) (Talbiya)

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Martin Buber lived here on Rechov Chovevi Tzion 3 in Talbiyah. One often thinks this not to be the case, but large parts or bits of Palestine are very modern, as modern as modern Israel. Green, swank, tiled, and with open and expansive architectural shape, Talbiya was built in the 1920s and 1930s during the British Mandate as a wealthy Christian Arab-Palestinian neighborhood. An international place, the neighborhood was developed by one Constantine Salameh, a resident of Beirut, who bought the land from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate. The Said family had a residence here, and it’s where a lot of the German Jewish professors at Hebrew University took up residence after the 1948 War when it was incorporated into West Jerusalem under Israeli control. I know this is not quite exactly true, but today it would seem only Americans can afford to live here. Up on the hill on a bright day it seems possible to reduce the entire Israel-Palestine conflict to real estate. Who wouldn’t want to live here? To the best of my knowledge, the acquisition of the property by the Bubers was kosher, as suggested here by Richard Silverstein, who dug into this story and whose judgment about these kinds of things I trust: http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2011/11/01/edward-said-and-martin-buber-the-real-story/.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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2 Responses to Martin Buber Lived Here (Arab Houses) (Talbiya)

  1. Though I appreciate your link to my blog & your inforamtion about Talbiya, your characterization of my views is false. I am, in fact a progressive Zionist & love Israel, though not the policies of its government or its Occupation. I’d think a professor of Jewish studies should be able to negotiate such nuance. But apparently not.

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