Atarot (עטרות) was a moshav in the British Mandate of Palestine, north of Jerusalem along the highway to Ramallah. The village was captured and destroyed by the Jordanian Arab Legion during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and is now the site of Atarot Airport and Jerusalem's largest industrial park.
Land was purchased by the Palestine Land Development Corporation (PLDC) as early as 1912 in the hills north of Jerusalem from the neighbouring Arab village of Kalandia. By 1914 the tract was settled by Zionist youth of the Second Aliyah who worked to prepare the rocky soil for agriculture. Among the settlers was Levi Eshkol, a future Prime Minister of Israel.
The land was abandoned due to the outbreak of World War I until the 1922 return of a free workers' group which continued field reclamation and initiated planting. This group was also tasked with defining the land's boundaries, leasing parts to local Arabs, and acquiring more land. The group was supposed to prepare for settlement by individuals and groups that would purchase plots from the PLDC, however the sale was unsuccessful and the Jewish National Fund bought 375 dunams of the best land. It was on this land that a village was organised as a cooperative agricultural community, known in Hebrew as a workers' moshav. The village was named for the biblical town of Ataroth believed to be located nearby.
In 1925, Atarot was joined by Neve Yaakov, the two villages constituting the whole of Jewish presence in the area.
In 1931 the British Mandatory government expropriated 200 of the 375 dunam to construct a small airfield, in the process demolishing homes and uprooting fruit orchards, and harming the village's growth. The PLDC sold more of the land such that the moshav members were left with only 14 dunam per plot, while 30 dunam was considered to be the minimum necessary for sufficient income. Water shortages also plagued the village, as the locally constructed reservoir could not satisfy the needs, and so it was necessary to purchase water from neighbouring Arab villages as well as from the expensive British-built Jerusalem municipal pipes.
Some of the moshav's fields were located at a distance, which created a security problem during the 1929 Palestine riots and 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine when it residents were shot at, robbed, and besieged. Concentrating on dairy farming and supplying Jerusalem's produce and dairy needs, by the 1940s Atarot was home to 150 residents.
Following the Israeli Declaration of Independence and attack of five Arab armies, the villages withstood repeated attacks and acted as a bulwark during the Jordanian Arab Legion's 1948 Siege of Jerusalem. The Haganah command for the Jerusalem area finally decided to evacuate the remaining defenders; they left on 17 May, 1948. The Jordanian forces looted and burned the village, and ultimately constructed an expanded Kalandia Airport on the village's site.
The refugees maintained their desire to remain organised as an agricultural cooperative, and in August of that year they were resettled in the former Templer village of Wilhelma, which they named Bnei Atarot in remembrance of their original home.
Following the 1967 Six Day War, the airport and site of the former village were captured by Israel along with the rest of the West Bank. The area was annexed into the expanded Jerusalem Municipality, and an industrial park was developed alongside the airport, renamed for the former village.
The park was home to over 200 companies including Coca-Cola, Mercedes-Benz, Israel Aircraft Industries, and many Arab-owned and joint enterprises. Some 4,000 people were employed prior to 2000, Arabs from Jerusalem and the West Bank comprising about two-thirds.
With the ebbing of violence, the Atarot industrial park has seen renewed activity, and several new companies have begun to move in, aided by the new Highway 45's linking the park to the nearby Route 443 expressway to the Tel Aviv metropolitan area and Begin Expressway to central Jerusalem. The park, which has surpassed Har Hotzvim to become the largest industrial park in Jerusalem, now houses 160 factories in a variety of industries.
The industrial park is managed by a non profit organisation, which among other achievements successfully lobbied the Jerusalem Municipality to take over security from private firms, a move which contributed to solving an ongoing problem.
Israeli author Esther Streit-Wertzel was commissioned in 2005 by the original families to write a chronicle of the village; she ultimately produced a novel on the topic.