Musrara (Arabic: مصرارة, Hebrew: מוסררה) also known by its Hebrew name, Morasha (מורשה) is a neighborhood in Jerusalem. It is bordered by Meah Shearim and Beit Yisrael on the north, the Old City on the south and east, and the Russian Compound and Kikar Safra to the west.
Musrara was founded by upper class Christian Palestinians residents during the late 19th century, as a part of the “departure from the walls,” during which people began living outside the Old City of Jerusalem.
During the 1947–1949 Palestine war, the Palestinian residents fled during the fighting or were expelled and not permitted to return to their homes. Musrara remained on the Israeli side of the border between Israel and Jordan.
During the early days of Israeli statehood, there was an extreme shortage of housing for the thousands of olim (immigrants) who flooded to Jerusalem. As a result, the Ministry of Housing decided to populate the previously Arab houses with olim from North African countries. Due to its proximity to the new border, the residents of Musrara were exposed to daily attacks from Jordanian snipers stationed along the border, who did their utmost to disrupt the lives of the residents. This new reality became routine until the reunification of Jerusalem after the Six-Day War in 1967.
In 1971, young, second-generation Mizrahi Jews from the neighborhood founded the Israeli Black Panthers, a protest movement against the perceived injustice and discrimination by the government against them. The rage quickly spread from Musrara to all areas inhabited by poor Mizrahi Jews, and eventually evolved into a political movement.
Musrara’s strategic location between the Haredi and religious neighborhoods to the north and the secular neighborhoods to the west has contributed to its diverse population. Over the last decade some have advocated to prevent the neighborhood from becoming more Hareidi, a process which has since slowed considerably.
Today, Musrara is home to about 4,500 people.