The founders and their vision

East Jerusalem Development Ltd. was established in early 1966 for bringing about the vision of Akiva Govrin, the minister of tourism at the time, and Teddy Kollek, then the mayor of Jerusalem.

It is worth mentioning that prior to the practical steps toward establishing the company, it was the initiation of Mordechai Shatner, the head of Jerusalem Economic Corporation and the mayor of Jerusalem at the time – Mr. Mordechai Ish Shalom.

It should be clarified that Teddy Kollek served as the chairman of the Government Tourism Company but wasn’t appointed mayor of Jerusalem at the time of 1965. He was an active partner in the consolidation of the company’s vision, as well as its realization, later supporting it throughout his tenure.

Yitzhak Yaacobi who worked with Teddy Kollek in the office of David Ben Gurion, the first Israeli prime minister, was elected to serve as CEO of the company and worked there for many years until his retirement in 1994.

Vision and goals

The declared purpose of the company, as expressed during the first years of its activity was summarized by developing the space cell extending from King David Street in the west and to the Old City Walls in the East, and especially at Yemin Mosher neighborhood and the Hutzot Hayotzer area, while focusing on development and tourism, as well as other concerns and responsibilities of the initiators and owners of the company, being the ministry of tourism and Jerusalem Municipality.

These two objectives of their activity were restored, developed and promoted during the second half of the 1960s (the restores Hutzot Hayotzer complex was inaugurated in 1969), while the construction of Yemin Moshe neighborhood was finalized in the mid-70’s.

However, the vision of the company expresses a wide range of development activities. These are achievable within the renewed jurisdiction of Jerusalem, especially considering the end the Six-Day War in 1967. This expansion was expressed in formulating and executing a perennial working plan for restoring and upgrading the city in terms of architecture in all the public areas in the Old City, excluding the Jewish Quarter, which was restored by the Jewish Quarter Development and Restoration Company.

During the years of its activity, the company gained extensive experience in rehabilitation and preserving buildings and infrastructure systems in the public space and has become a leading company in these senses. It is evident through its vast involvement in various restoration and preservation activities in the City Center as well.

Flagship projects

During its years of operation, the company had executed hundreds of projects, most importantly:

1969-1975 – Restoring, preserving and developing Yemin Moshe neighborhood.

1966-1969 – restoration of the Hutzot Hayotzer complex while initiating the annual fair in the compound, as well as operating it for over 30 years.

1984-1987 – Restoring, preserving and developing Nahalat Shiva neighborhood

1985-2010 – Restoring, preserving and developing public infrastructure systems in the city center (replacement of existing infrastructures, flooring, and gardening solutions) at Ben-Yehuda pedestrian mall, Dorot Rishonim street, Salomon street, Hachavatzelet street compound, Mordechai Ben-Halel street and more).

From 1970 and to this day – restoring, preserving and developing various compounds in the public and promoting areas.

Jaffa Gate Square, Hashalshelet street, Hanotzrim street, various streets and alleys in the Christian, Muslim and Armenian quarters.

From 1980 and to this day – the King Valley Project, including the restoration and upgrade of Ben Hinnom Valley, Yad Avshalom Observation Point, the Ophel Promenade, the Mount of Olives Observation Point, the Kidron River, the Gihon Spring Plaza and cleaning tunnel No. 2 in the Hezekiah tunnels, Warren’s Shaft in the City of David and more.

From 1995 and to this day – managing the archeological excavation project, including restoration, preservation, and development in the Dung Gate area, under the supervision of the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Davidson Center. Exposing, restoring and preserving the Herodian Valley, Robinson’s Arch, the Mikvah Complex near Robinson’s Arch and in the Ophel area and more,

1997 and to this day –infrastructure structure development, preparing and restoring access routes and graves at the Mount of Olives National Cemetery.

1988-2002 – Implementing the governmental decisions regarding the upgrade of urban infrastructure systems (roads, water, sewage, drainage, etc.) throughout East Jerusalem from Akab village in the northern part of the city to Jabal Mukaber in the south.

1995-1999 – Kidron Valley drainage regulation project – from the area of Shimon HaTzadik’s Tomb in the north to A-Sawahreh in the south, including sewage regulation, solving drainage issues in Prushot neighborhood, and more…

And counting!

The company’s CEO since its establishment:

Yitzhak Ya’acobi, 1966-1994

Yoel Marinov, 1994-2003

Gideon Shamir, 2004-2012

Benny Sassi from 2013 and on