after the war of independence the arabs abandoned the area and jews moved in. from the early 1950's immigrants who had been housed in tent camps moved into the neighborhood. cheap two and four family homes were built, usually 32 square meters in size, but with a generous garden to allow the immigrants to grow vegetables and plant fruit trees. most of the homes belonged to the government housing company amidar and these were sold off to the residents in the 1970's.
until the six day war, gonenim was on the jordanian border and had to defend itself against jordanian sniper fire – hence the new name gonenim which means 'defenders'. the area has developed economically since 1967. major commercial and shopping centers have been developed adjacent to the neighborhood (talpiot and malkha), major arterial roads have been built (herzog and harakevet) and the face of the neighborhood has changed beyond recognition. younger residents have enlarged the original small homes and improved living standards. the home enlargements were at the expense of the gardens.
gonenim is divided into sub-ubits: aleph, bet, gimmel, dalet, heh (san simon) and vav. this is a historical sub-division reflecting the stages of building development.
katamon het was built in similar fashion at the end of the 1950's (rehov hashomer and rehov hanotrim). katamon tet was built in the mid-1960's in the form of long apartment blocks, with small apartments and low-cost housing. a large number of these homes still remain government-owned. russian and ethiopian immigrants were housed in this area in the 1990's. despite a massive investment in infrastructure by project renewal over the last 20 years no significant change has occurred in the socio-economic characteristics of the population although many small apartments were combined to make larger ones.
katamon zayin (patt)
katamon zayin was only built at the end of the 1970's and was given the name patt. the low-cost housing was intended for residents of katamon het. project renewal partially succeeded in improving the outward appearance of the apartment blocks while many home were successfully enlarged.
the katamon neighborhood was established in south jerusalem during the british mandate by wealthy arab businessmen. in the heart of the neighborhood is the san simon monastery around which bloody battles raged during the war of independence because the monastery was situated on a ridge dominating the southern approach into the city. by the end of the battle the arabs had abandoned their homes and jews evacuated from the old city were housed in them. from 1952 other neighborhoods with the name katamon (see above) started to be built.
the streets of old katamon were named after units involved in the war of independence. the neighborhood today is home to the goldstein youth village (havat hanoar hazioni), denmark and hartman schools, the islamic museum and the elul yeshiva in which men and women study together.