Between the Border of Despair and the “Circle of Tears”: Musrara on the Margins of Jewish-Arab Existence in Jerusalem

Moshe Naor, Abigail Jacobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article focuses on Jerusalem's Musrara—a neighborhood trapped between bor-ders—between 1948 and 1967. Barbed wire running along the eastern side of the neighborhood divided the city of Jerusalem between 1948 and 1967. Musrara's western border separated it from West Jerusalem, thus enhancing the division between its residents— new immigrants of Middle Eastern descent—and the mainly Ashkenazi population of the western part of Jerusalem. Our analysis of a neighborhood on the margins of Jewish and Arab existence in post-1948 Jerusalem considers the perspectives of immigrants and refugees living on a double border that separated the Eastern-Arab part of the city from its Western-Jewish part, or between “old Jerusalem” and “new Jerusalem.” The border also signifed the boundary between “frst Israel” and “second Israel,” or the Jewish frontier and neighborhoods in the city center.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-98
Number of pages24
JournalJewish Social Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023 The Trustees of Indiana University.


  • divided city
  • Jerusalem
  • Mizrahi struggle
  • Musrara
  • urban line
  • Arab people
  • Arab-Jewish relations
  • Ashkenazi Jews
  • Borders
  • Boundaries
  • Boundaries (Geography)
  • Cities
  • Despair
  • History
  • Homeless people
  • Houses
  • Immigrants
  • Jewish people
  • Jewish-Arab relations
  • Marginality Social
  • Middle class
  • Middle Eastern cultural groups
  • Mizrahim
  • Narratives
  • Neighborhood
  • Neighborhoods
  • Neighbourhoods
  • Refugees
  • Religious orthodoxy
  • Social aspects
  • Social marginality
  • Wire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Religious studies


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