Originally published 10 January 1997
in Kol Ha'ir
Explanation: Abu-Dis is a Palestinian village just east of the city limits of Jerusalem, i.e., in the West Bank.
Irving Moskowitz, patron of the settlers, plans to construct a yeshiva and
dormitory between Beit Orot and Hebrew University.
Dr. Irving Moskowitz,
patron of Ateret Cohanim (and also contributor to the Tehiya party, Golan
settlers, and many others), recently completed another land deal in East
Jerusalem. Not far from the Augusta Victoria hospital, quite near Hebrew
University, the doctor bought a large plot with the intention of establishing
on it a yeshiva and dormitories for its students. This time it will not be
in the heart of an Arab area, like Ras al-Amud, but on the periphery, on
the seam between East Jerusalem and the Mount Scopus enclave from before
The purchase was effected by the Everest Foundation, one of
the non-profits set up by Moskowitz and his friends in Israel and the U.S.
for purposes of land and property acquisition in East Jerusalem. The source
of funding for the purchase is the bingo parlor that Moskowitz runs in California,
most of whose patrons are lower-class Hispanics. According to the tax authorities
of California and the agreement between Moskowitz and Hawaiian Gardens, where
the bingo parlor operates, Moskowitz must use the profits only for educational
or charitable purposes. In a correspondence between the Everest Foundation,
which requested the money, and the Moskowitz Foundation, asked to make the
contribution, the lawyer of the Everest Foundation in the U.S., Oren Ben-Ezra,
said that this allocation of funds is for goals that are legitimate, since
educational institutions and student dormitories will be constructed on that
location. Negotiation about the deal began as far back as 1993, and the registration
of the land under the name of the Everest Foundation was just completed several
The land, about 3 dunams [3/4 acre], was acquired from
the British Jewish businessmen Bernard Lee and Leslie Liphart. They inherited
the plot from their parents, who had bought it in the 1930s. In that sense,
Moskowitz (with the help of his people in Israel) is using the same method
of operation that he used in abu-Dis: identification of lands belonging to
Jews in the territories and their purchase from the owners (or from the State
Bequests Bureau). The cost of the acquisition is approximately $800,000,
including design of the architectural plans.
A previous deal in which
the Everest Foundation requested a similar sum from Moskowitz was the acquisition
of the structure of the Shomrei HaHomot yeshiva at one end of HaGuy Street
in the Old City. There too a promise was made that the structure, partially
destroyed since 1948, would be renovated and serve only for religious and
educational purposes. The owners of the property, including Shomrei HaHomot,
added one more condition: The structure will be returned to their original
owners when the messiah comes. They clarified that they will demand back
the structure only with the coming of the messiah son of David (and not the
messiah son of Joseph, who already appeared). Moskowitz agreed to the condition
perhaps because he thinks the messiah won't arrive so fast, or perhaps because
when the messiah arrives, what's a million dollars more or less.
Copyright 1997, Kol Ha'Ir. For education and discussion only. Not for commercial use.