Green Sovereignty Is Key To Jerusalem’s Future

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Day to day life in Jerusalem’s cramped Old City is a mixture of spiritual highs and in many places, especially in many of the mixed Jewish and Arab neighborhoods is also tense with a degree of uncertainty.

While much of the Old City is slowly returning to Jewish hands as it was before the pogroms of the 1920s and 1930s, there is still the feeling that a degree of isolation comes with the move back into the Old Jewish Quarter and the Northern Jewish Quarter – both places most of the world considers the “Muslim Quarter.”

The challenge ahead is not one of population or even contiguity. This will happen as more and more ideological investors realize that Jerusalem’s Old City is flipping back to its natural sovereign body – the Nation of Israel. This was on track already in the mid 1800’s, until the British derailed the momentum in the early 20th Century.

What is important now is a degree of Green Sovereignty.

We cannot hope to truly be in control just by moving into urban homesteads. These are important, but there is something far more concrete that should be done, not just for the Jewish population in the city, but all residents.

It is proven that greening urban areas, even little changes like greening alleyways and courtyards creates social capital between residents, lessens tensions, and raises positive interactions.

No one wants to destroy nature if it can be helped. All of us yearn to fill our biophilic urges and this desire for connection to nature is vital for urban development as well as the mental wellbeing of residents in urban areas.

Jerusalem can change the dynamic in the Old City by beginning to establish real sovereignty through green initiatives within the ancient walls – blurring divisions and increasing its sovereign control.

None of this needs to be complicated. Raised beds in certain spaces, green walls along major thoroughfares, and green spaces at neighborhood boundaries that would create blended edges of meeting, yet hold onto the cultural boundaries.

Urban homesteading will continue as it should. The next phase is to truly make the Jerusalem’s Old City and its surroundings one entity.

Article by David Mark

David is Ateret Cohanim's Director of Communications. He is a long time Land of Israel Activist, writer and film maker.

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