On November 17, Rabbi Aviv Tzobari, the Rosh Yeshiva of the Ateret Cohanim Seminary in the so-called Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem - also known as “the citizen who neutralized the terrorist” - was praised for saving the day after two 20-year-old policemen were stabbed. Once again, Ateret Cohanim’s presence brought security and calm to all who live in Jerusalem. It highlights the fact that Jews living anywhere in the land of Israel especially in Judea and Samaria bring peace and tranquility to all inhabitants of the land. The Arabs won’t tell a reporter that publicly but privately they will tell anyone who asks that they are much better off today than pre-1967. They feel one hundred percent more secure. This is not a narrative the media or radical politicians want to talk about. This lack of reality testing has hurt chances for peace more than anything else.
Rabbi Aviv Tzobari, who is the true hero in all of this, learned his lessons the hard way. Six years ago, almost to the day, his colleague and friend Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi was murdered after trying to come to the rescue of the Bennett family who were on their way to the Western Wall to pray. Both Rabbi Lavi and Aharon Bennett died as a result of the terrorist actions. This time, Rabbi Tzobari made sure to shoot the terrorist before anyone else could be hurt.
Because of the presence of the Ateret Cohanim community, over $10 million of security cameras and monitors were set up in the Old City, going back to the times of Ariel Sharon, who had purchased an apartment in the Old City near the Ateret Cohanim Yeshiva in 1988. I remember well when he moved in. It was later found out that the building Sharon moved into was the Mediterranean Hotel where Mark Twain stayed in 1867. I am proud and honored to be associated with Ateret Cohanim these past 36 years.
Unfortunately, terror struck Jerusalem again when Fadi Abu Shkhaydem, a senior Hamas member and operative who lived near Pisgat Ze’ev and French Hill in Jerusalem and who taught a PA curriculum at a UNRWA school (the textbooks at these schools defame Jews and glorify terrorism against Jews) used an automatic weapon (how he was able to get such a weapon into The Old City of Jerusalem is now the subject of an intense investigation and should lead to much stricter control of the entry point for Muslims, including metal detectors into Jerusalem) to murder 26-year-old South African oleh Eliyahu David Kay, who was working for the Western Wall Heritage Foundation. Thousands attended his funeral. His brother Kasriel Kay said, “Eli would have wanted every single person to give … to the best of their ability in whatever way works for them” for Israel.
Ateret Cohanim mourns the great loss of Eliyahu David Kay hy”d. Hamas must be held accountable and pay a very heavy price. Ateret Cohanim will continue to heighten security in Jerusalem. Its existence is saving Jerusalem for future generations.
Dr. Joe Frager is Chairman of the Israel Advocacy Commission for the Rabbinical Alliance of America; Chairman of the Executive Committee of American Friends of Ateret Cohanim; Dean at Kollel Ayshel Avraham; Executive Vice President of the Israel Heritage Foundation; and a physician in practice for 41 years.