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Correspondence between Coalition for Justice Co-director
Haim Dov Beliak and Matti Dan of Ateret Cohanim

The Emails

Note: Ateret Cohanim initiated this exchange of emails, which began in April 2003 and ended in July, when we stopped responding. The entire exchange is below. As you will see from the emails, we were unsure of exactly who we were corresponding with: was it Matti Dan, an individual long associated with Ateret Cohanim, or was it Daniel Wittenberg, who signed the first message? Or, were Wittenberg and Dan actually the same person? When we found the initiating email address identified as belonging to Ateret Cohanim (see, we were satisfied that our interlocutor or interlocutors really did represent the organization. The justice and development addresses were our website email at the time.

Tue, 1 Apr 2003 01:15:56 -0800 (PST)
From: "Matti Dan" <>
Subject: Moskowitz and Ras El Amud

To Rabbi Beliak
There is alot that can be said about one Jew going to such lengths to fight or stop another Jew, but this email forum is not the place. I will suffice by saying that like others in this hate-filled world, you are playing a part in stopping the Mashiach. Why should he come if there is so much senseless hatred within Am Yisrael.

The main reason for writing relates to only point -Ras El Amud. I am sure that there are arguments aboutgambling money, about money for the residents of Hawaiian Gardens...etc, however i believe that you should be honest enough to properly convey the situation on Ras El Amud. You are simply misleading your followers and readers. I would be quite happy to actually walk to the area with you so you can see first hand, but i dont know whether that is possible from your point of view.

A few facts that you either know, but refuse to speak about, or maybe you simply don't know.

1/ The property is on the Mount of Olives, 100 metres away from the holy and ancient JEWISH BURIAL SITE. The area is definately not holy for the Arabs.

2/ The property was officially and legally owned by Jews, already in the early 19th century. There are documents to prove everything.In fact a relative of mine owned the property - a philanthropist called Moshe Wittenberg.

3/ It was deemed to be an extension of Jewish Cemetary, but both Turkish and later British authorities refused the licence.

4/ In 1928, 2 Kollels (Vohlin and Chabad) acquired the huge property, and it was used to produce Unleavened bread (Matzah) for the Jewish residents of the Old City.
5/ Between 95 and 98% of the property was empty, when acquired by Moskowitz. Ie/ No Arab neighbourhood, no arab families, no arabs driven off...nothing.I repeat, it was an empty Jewish property.Photos, and documents to prove every word that i am writing!!

6/ The property is located above the City of David ( I am sure that you know what this is, and understand the importance of the area) and the Yemenite Village. It is a 30 second walk from the ancient Jewish cemetary on the Mt Olives. It is bounded by the massive Israeli Police station. It is definately not in the heart of an Arab neighbourhood. It is part of Jerusalem proper, accepted by all left and right wing Governments. It is also 3 minutes from the Kotel and the Old City itself.Mind you the same applies for Abu Dis - ie/Empty land devoid of Arab homes - official and legally owned Jewish property within borders of Jerusalem Municipality.

7/ Notwithstanding the few objections from left wing radical extremists, some of whom were and are funded by the European Union, the building of the apartments in the new Jewish neighbourhood, has been done properly,legally and formally thru all the proper channels. (Which by the way is more than i can say for the rampant arab building in Jerusalem...even on Jewish or gov land. Why dont you fight that?)

In summary, it is the same story like Jews have been doing for generations when 'we' have come home. I do hope that you accept/appreciate/understand that Israel is the only home of the Jews and that it is our promised land. Of course if you are a reform rabbi as opposed to a conservative rabbi, then maybe the role of Israel is questionable in your eyes. (Initially as you are aware the reform removed the Israel/Jerusalem connection from prayers...etc....maybe some have recently returned the concepts! Baruch Hashem!)

It is a simple matter of a true Zionist with a rare and honest passion to build Jerusalem, who feels our generations old connection to this land and who is also a caring and believing Jew, buying a property from a Jew ( officially owned by Jews), in order to build homes for Jews in the heart of Jerusalem. (Of course also overlooking the Temple Mount, the City of David and the Old City.) Its a story of real Zionism. Its a story of the Jewish dream coming to reality. Its even a small but important step in the Redemption process. That's Ras El Amud - Maaleh HaZeitim !!!!!

Its a big shame that you don't see the truth and that you are fighting this beautiful story of love between Am and Eretz Yisrael. Its also a big shame that you dont even know or present the facts about Ras El Amud. At least be honest to yourself.

**A note - Instead of being critical, come and see for yourself the relationship between the Arabs and the Jews in the area, and/or in the Moslem Quarter (Old Jewish Yishuv)of the Old City. There is actually friendship, tolerance and understanding. No walls and barriers like your left wing friends are demanding for the country. Remember even, that sometimes Jews and Arabs are actually in the same compound. I believe that it's called coexistence. What a shame that you dont have the same type of tolerance towards a fellow Jew like Dr.Moskowitz.

As a final word - Sinat Chinam (Senseless hatred)has destroyed many in our history. Some advice - don't let it eat you up , or consume you totally. Look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself some hard questions - Why am i really doing this? Why am i so
consumed in stopping Moskowitz? Am i being honest with myself? What is so wrong with Jews living on the Mt Olives, especially if no Arab was affected, driven off...etc?

I hope to get some feedback from you or at least acknowledgement of this email.
Happy & Kosher Passover
Daniel Wittenberg

My Contact email
( I am using a friends email who showed me some of
your articles, or where you were quoted)

* * *

Thu, 10 Apr 2003 06:17:34 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Jusice in Hawaiian Gardens" <>
Subject: Re: Moskowitz and Ras El Amud
To: "Matti Dan" <>

To Matti Dan (Wittenberg)
I'm hoping to respond in detail to your long Email, but need to run to minyan this morning. Perhaps you could get the dialog - I hope we're going to have started, by addressing the main point of our postings about Ras el-Amud: that Moskowitz is buying land to make a peace agreement with the Palestinians geographically impossible. And do you agree with this strategy of not giving the Palestinians a face-saving toe-hold in East Jerusalem?
Haim Dov Beliak

* * *

Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2003 04:13:13 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Matti Dan" <>
Subject: Re: Moskowitz and Ras El Amud

I think it is a little presumptuous to claim to know intentions of Moskowitz or in fact any of the Zionist organizations including the JNF who reclaim, buy and purchase land throughout Israel and especially in Jerusalem. For generations Jews have been buying land because of the Land, because of the desire to be close to Temple Mount, because of the Promise, because this is our Land and it doesn't come on a silver platter. Did Avraham , Isaac, Jacob, Kind David etc...Ramban, Yehuda Hachasid, and build a Jewish life to drive out the Jebusite, greek, arab, palestinian...?

The Arabs have the foothold in the eastern part of Jerusalem. This hitorically rich Jewish area, is sparse of Jewish life. Moskowitz and others like him are rectifying a wrong - legally and officially...and looking after the arabs who by the way are prepared to sell!!
Does it mean that as a result of efforts of Ateret Cohanim and others, that a settlement with Arab Palestinians in Jerusalem will be difficult.? Maybe yes, but so what? I dont have to give the arabs a face-saving solution...especially not at my expense.Our peaceful settlement with the arabs doesn't include shooting ourselves in the foot, and it doesn't mean splitting or dividing or internationailizing Jerusalem at all. A real Jew should appreciate the importance of Har Hazeytim, of Kfar Hashiloach, of Ir David, of the Old City and of the Temple Mount and not even question whether a Jew has the moral and legal right to settle in or close to these areas. We are just coming home.

From my point of view a Jew must really be bound to his past in order to path a bright and peaceful future.

You mentioned going to Minyan. What do our Tfillot say about Jerusalem...about Har HaBayit? What do they say about this Land and the gift from G-d? What do out Tfillot say about Sinaat Chinam? Lets first be concerned about our own people and our land before we worry about others. There is no shortage of Arab-Yishamael-Esau land. Trust me !

As a last point - if you truly looked at what Moskowitz is doing - its all about justice for Jews and Arabs alike and developement of Jewish communities in the heart of Jerusalem.

* * *

Wed, 25 Jun 2003 21:24:06 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Jusice in Hawaiian Gardens" <>
Subject: In the week of Parashat Shelach Lecha (BeTefutzot)
To: "Matti Dan" <>

Dear Matti,

Several months ago I wrote to you asking, outright, whether Irving Moskowitz was buying land to make a peace agreement with the Palestinians geographically impossible. You didn't answer directly, only adamantly defended the principle of Jews living in traditionally Palestinian areas of the city. Recently, to my surprise, I saw on the website of Arutz 7 that Dr. Moskowitz's son-in-law, Aryeh King, declared outright that the purpose of Moskowitz's development at Ras Al-Amud was to foreclose the possibility of giving the Palestinians a face-saving corridor through Jerusalem, as envisioned by the Beilin-Abu Mazen Plan. Here's the relevant quotation. I'm curious to know your reaction to it.

I remain puzzled.

Haim Dov Beliak, rabbi

The original idea behind the new neighborhood was to obstruct the implementation of the "Beilin-Abu Mazen Plan." According to the plan (drawn up by Oslo Accords architect Yossi Beilin and recently appointed Palestinian prime minister Abu Mazen), an area was to be created allowing Arabs to travel from Abu Dis and Azariya to the Temple Mount and all the way to the Jericho road without passing through Jewish communities. The new neighborhood connects Ir David (City of David) with Har HaZeitim (Mt. of Olives) and Har HaTzofim (Mt. Scopus). "Between the Old City and Abu Dis/Azariya there is now a greatly expanding Jewish presence," says King.

* * *

Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2003 00:52:03 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Matti Dan" <>
Subject: Re: In the week of Parashat Shelach Lecha (BeTefutzot)

To - Haim Dov Beliak
In response to yourt recent email.

Aryeh King is not Dr.Moskowitz's son-in-law and from what i understand, he is not his official representative or spokesperson here in Jerusalem. He is an individual who was actually one of the original 'guards' who was put in Ras El Amud-Maaleh HaZeitim by Ateret Cohanim. He may have his own agenda, but i dont know him personally. You need to ask him. In any case he is irrelevant (or at least his comments)in the overall scheme of things.

By the way, i did answer you completely. You just didnt like the answer, because you clearly have your own 'anti Moskowitz' agenda, that seems to be burning you up from the inside.

Dr.Irving and Cherna Moskowitz are what the Jewish people , for generations, have called true builders and "Chovevei Zion", simply doing what Jews have dreamt and done for generations.

Have you ever thought what your greatgrandparents would have thought about your actions against Jews trying to live peacefully on the Mount of Olives overlooking the Temple Mount? Don't forget Moskowitz bought the land from JEWS (Kollel Vohlin and Chabad) Its sad, but based on your 'logic', we shouldnt have a state for the Jewish people at all. (Just like many Arab States claim)The State itself stops the pan arab creates tension in the region and it makes any peace impossible. Maybe we should just fold up, back our bags, go back to Europe, Africa and Australasia...for the sake of your kind of peace.

Maaleh HaZeitim (Ras El Amud) is purely a miracle. Its another footstep in the process of Redemption and if anything it stabilizes and prings peace to the area, as one can see and feel if one walks around the new neighbourhood.

I don't know you at all, but i think that you should wake up and rekindle your Jewish and Zionistic Neshama.
Have a good day.

By the way my name is not Matt, its Daniel

* * *

Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2003 19:41:29 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Jusice in Hawaiian Gardens" <>
Subject: confusion about the Mashiach
To: " Matti Dan" <>

Dear Daniel,

Thank you for your recent Email.

I must say, though, that I am a bit confused about who I have been corresponding with. From your first Email on, I took you at your word - that, if you were not Matti Dan, you were close enough to Matti Dan to share a computer.

I'm also perplexed over your remark about Aryeh King. Why he would say he is Moskowitz' son-in-law when he wasn't? Aren't you and King both aligned with Ateret Cohanim or Beit Orot?

This matters to me because I was taken aback by your statement, so assured, that I was delaying the Mashiach (Messiah). Who ever you are, on what authority do you claim to know what retards or advances the Messiah? And what purpose do Irving Moskowitz's activities in Jerusalem serve for bringing the Messiah?

In our correspondence, I have asked you a number of times if the goal of Moskowitz's property developments, such as Ras Al-Amud, is to make peace with the Palestinians impossible. But you have never answered directly. Could it be that you are aware that most Israelis regard such peace-blocking "facts on the ground" as extremist? Don't you think the Messiah appreciates how Israelis, through their democratic process, have consistently rejected extreme and maximalist territorial positions? the week when we read Korach.

Haim Dov Beliak, rabbi

* * *

Tue, 1 Jul 2003 05:12:31 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Matti Dan" <>
Subject: Re: confusion about the Mashiach

1/ One should not assume anything, without checking first. Mati Dan does not use the computer, although we do work together.

2/I don't know why Aryeh King claims what he does, nor do i know whether he was quoted correctly by the press. Maybe your questions should be directed towards
Aryeh King himself.

3/ I repeat again, i don't know Aryeh King, we have never met (once spoken on the phone) and he does not work for Ateret Cohanim. Regarding Beit Orot, you should ask them - i am not there representative or spokesperson.

4/ Your comment about the Redemption astounds me. In the circles in which i mix and in the religious world (even in large segments of the Haredi world), it is blatantly clear what constitutes the various stages of the Redemption process. As i have said earlier, one would have to be a fool or maybe blind if one doesn't recognize the Hand of G-d and the early stages of Redemption unfolding before our eyes - whether it be the Aliyot from the students of the Vilna Gaon in the early 1820's, the early pioneers, the various Aliyot to Eretz Israel, the deserts blooming, the victories in all wars, the establishment of the State, the return of Jews to the Land, the rebuilding and reclaiming of our Land and our Jerusalem......etc The work of Ateret Cohanim or the JNF of Jerusalem is simply a small cog in the 'Jewish wheel' of returning home - one aspect of the Zionist process and dream, that i am sure that you share !

Are you really against Jews buying back old Jewish land and property? Do you really want to see us all pack our bags and go back to Europe? Are you unwilling to accept that Jews have the right to buy in Jerusalem?(whether it be a Jewish building or land stolen by Arabs after the riots or if it be land owned by a nonjew) Jews for generations have been buying land in our country. From your comments, inuendoes and internet site, you seem to be fighting the Zionist process and you seem to reject the idea that we have full rights and an unbroken bond with a united Jerusalem and the whole Land of Israel. Its a shame- Its a big shame!

I am no Rabbinic Authority, but there are enough respected and great religious Authorities, throughout the world, who accept the Written and Oral law of G-d,and who understand exactly how to push along the Messianic Process. There is no one way. Its not a recipe for a cake, however there are many things that have helped and will continue to drag along that needed Messianic Donkey ! We cannot sit back and expect miracles. That will be the Temple Mount and the Temple itself. However outside Temple Mount, the return of Jews to our Jeerusalem and the resettling of our promised land, requires input from Man. Having an apartment in the Moslem quarter (Old Jewish
Yishuv-Kotel Quarter) or building a jewish neighbourhood on the Mt Olives may upset your vision for peace, but who put you or others like you in the position of deciding what is true peace. We have a different road Map - our is a Jewish road map.

Anybody who can bring Jews back to Israel (Aliyah) should be praised, for he would be hastening the Messiah. (Ingathering of the Exiles) So too, anyone who reclaims, builds, settles the Land of Israel and especially Jerusalem, should also be praised, for he too is helping along the Redemption process.

I may add that i think (in my humble opinion and based on your efforts and questions)that you too hung up about Ras El Amud _Maaleh Hazeitim is its name! It was Jewish Land. It had Jewish title owners and today once again its in Jewish hands. It was primarily an empty block of land used for Matza Shmura and it was acquired, in order to build a Jewish neighbourhood. (Just like other neighbourhoods in Jerusalem and
throughout Israel) Do you ask the same question about Ramat Eshkol or Ramot in Jerusalem. Do you honestly believe that Jews come back to Jerusalem or Jews build in Jerusalem just to stop any peace with the Arabs. Please give the Jewish people and people like Dr&Mrs Moskowitz some credit. What about positive reasons like have existed since the destruction of the Temple? What about Zionism? What about simple rights? What you would probably fight for in the Galut of America, you want to deny from Jews in their own land and in their own city?! You really surprise me.

Regarding extremists. Pay us a visit. Why dont you come to Israel and walk the streets. Why dont you come and see who are the extremists in Israel. There is a consensus, and you arent in it! Even the left wing (except for extreme left wing fanatics like the few Peace Now members and their European Backers)are in favour of our work in the heart of Jewish Jerusalem.

By the way, from where do you get the notion that Jews living in the Old City or the Mount of Olives on Jewsih land 'blocks peace'? What is your basis for such a radical statement? Is it biblical sources? Is it based on Halachah? If you would listen to the Arabs instead of defending them at every opportunity, then you would maybe hear
that they are are saying that our mere presence in the region is a block to peace. Its not just a neighbourhood on the Mount of Olives. Its the whole of Jerusalem, its Netzarim, its Tel Aviv, Haifa, Netanya...the Jewish people coming home is a thorn to the arab world-try and understand that.

You mention democratic process - who actually is in government now? How did the Oslo loving left fare in the lst election?

Strange that you mention Korach. He who rejected the true and complete word of G-d was ultimately swallowed and humbled like the dust of the earth.We see, as you would know, that those who reject G-d, twist and change His word, reject his Land, bow to worldly rulers and ideals and reject his promise of the Land to His People - - will find themselves soner or later on the 'outer' and rejected by G-d himself. You know- the other aspect about Korach, that it seems that you havent internalized (only from what you have written)is the aspect of an argument "L'sheim Shamayim" Is that you are doing? Ask yourself that question.

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