From Sustainability To Sovereignty

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After the Six Day war when the euphoria of the miraculous world changing victory subsided and Israel got into the nitty gritty of managing a foreign populace that had moved into much of Jerusalem’s Old City from the early 1920s to 1960s, the task of reclaiming and restoring rightful Jewish ownership over much of the real estate became a serious headache.

In the ensuing years, Ateret Cohanim has been able to reclaim and restore whole areas of what the world considers to be the Muslim Quarter to its rightful Jewish owners. The success has been miraculous. Al Khaladia street feels safe to walk on with Jewish kids once again playing in the street. Beit Wittenberg, the former Mediterranean hotel where Mark Twain stayed at is once again in Jewish hands. From Beit HaNof to Beit Prachim, the Muslim Quarter, which is really the Old Jewish Quarter is experiencing a mini Jewish revival.

Despite the success, as I have written elsewhere, we can no longer only focus on individual purchases, but rather developing real sovereignty through community building. The more spaces we have, the more the actual community in all of its facets become our responsibility.

From urban farming to cleaner streets, a sustainable community leads to the actualization of sovereignty. Just like in nature, the Creation is designed as an intricate, interwoven set of dependencies with functional inputs across the entirety of the created system, so too in urban communities. Green spaces, social gathering areas, and roof tops for both playgrounds and produce – as well as industrial spaces that can house places of learning alongside hydroponic gardens all are part of the growing sense of organic community that is being built with Ateret Cohanim as the driving force.

As the Ateret Cohanim community continues to grow, this sort of thinking can be applied to strengthen sovereignty across Jerusalem – especially in the Old City. Sustainability in urban development – especially in the Old City is a must in order to ensure that real sovereignty is returned to the Jewish people and with that – perhaps a real lasting peace as well.

David Mark
Article by David Mark

David heads up Urban Sustainability and Community Development for Ateret Cohanim where he merges his passion for sustainability and Jerusalem into a roadmap for a redeemed capital. When he is not working with Ateret Cohanim, he is intimately involved with Land Reclamation activities in Judea and Samaria and teaching chassidut to classes in Jerusalem.


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