Ateret Cohanim stands at the forefront of Jewish Land Reclamation in Jerusalem. Beyond ensuring a united Jerusalem, Ateret Cohanim works to redeem property once held by Jews in Israel's capital as well as reestablishing Jewish neighborhoods in the heart of the Old City and its surrounding areas. Beyond security and land reclamation, Ateret Cohanim also leads guided educational tours and in depth seminars that bring visitors to the frontlines of urban pioneering in the eternal Jewish capital. These tours are more than political - they bring history, spiritual connection, and national redemption together in an unforgettable journey into the heart of Jerusalem's Old City.
Due to the efforts and achievements of Ateret Cohanim in Jerusalem and the tireless dedication of American Friends of Ateret Cohanim, (also known as “Jerusalem Chai” and Jerusalem Reclamation Project), located in New York City, there is once again a Jewish presence in the Kotel Quarter (known also as the Moslem and Christian Quarters).
What began by Matityahu HaCohen Dan who in 1977 was a young, idealistic veteran of the Israel Defense Forces is now the leading Jerusalem Land Reclamation movement and is powerful force for a united Jerusalem.
Today there is a wonderous Jewish neighborhood on the Mount of Olives (Maaleh HaZeitim) and more recently Ateret Cohanim has established a foothold in both the Village of Shiloach (Kfar Hateimanim) with a Kolel and 35 Jewish families and students and in Kidmat Zion (Abu Dis) with 6 Rabbinical families. No small part of Ateret Cohanim’s success is due to the pioneering spirit of our ideologically motivated families.
Today, there are over 1000 Jewish families, and hundreds of children, play centers, Yeshivot, and Synagogues in the area close to the Temple Mount area. This is a small but flourishing Jewish community in the Old City of Jerusalem which one time had been the hub of Jewish life and activity up until the riots and pogroms of the 1920’s, 30’s and the War of Independence in 1948. A thriving Jewish community and a pulsating Jewish life was found throughout the areas that are known today as the Moslem and Christian Quarters (in fact, a Jewish majority existed in the Old City from the 1850s until the rioting in the early 20th century). Unfortunately, Arab hatred and the decision by the British to divide the Old City left us with a tiny portion of our Holy City. The glorious victory in the Six Day War in 1967 and our return to the Old City facilitated the building of a beautiful Jewish Quarter (13% of area). Yet we are still a minority in “Our Jerusalem”.
We are back home, but a lot of work needs to be done. Slowly but surely we are returning to all parts of “Our Jerusalem”. Ateret Cohanim is responsible for bringing back Jewish life to the heart of Jerusalem. Just as the JNF has reclaimed land over the years throughout Israel, Ateret Cohanim redeems the land in and around the walled Old City. Private investors purchase previously owned Jewish buildings or buy long term tenancy rights.
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