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ATAR (also Attar, Ibn Atar, Benatar, Abenatar, Abiatar ), family of Spanish origin. Many members of the Atar family left Spain during the persecutions of the 14th and 15th centuries. In the 17th century the name reappeared in Amsterdam, Turkey, and, particularly, Morocco, and afterward in Hamburg, London, and Curaçao. Many of the Abenatars in these communities were descended from Marranos; the family relationship among them is certain. abraham (i) ben solomon abiatar (17th–18th century) was a poet, talmudist, and kabbalist who lived in Fez, Morocco. Ḥayyim (i) abenatar (same period) was a notable of the community there. Ḥayyim settled in Salé, founding and heading a yeshivah, where his distinguished grandson Ḥayyim Ben Moses (ii) *Attar studied; his brother shem-tov (d. 1701), a wealthy philanthropist, was nagid at Salé. Shem Tov's son moses (d. c. 1725) began his career as secretary-adviser to the viceroy of southern Morocco. He succeeded his father as nagid, directed the family's large commercial enterprises, and was appointed treasurer to King Mulay Ishmael. When Moses Mocatta of London failed to negotiate a peace treaty with Morocco on behalf of King George i of England, Moses Abenatar was chosen to replace him. He began by freeing English captives in Morocco and successfully concluded the treaty in 1721, introducing a clause stipulating that Moroccan Jews who had settled in the British Empire would be given the right to be judged in Jewish courts. However, his success aroused jealousy. Unjustly accused of embezzlement, he escaped death only by paying the king a huge fine. After the death of his rival, the nagid Abraham Maimaran in 1723, Moses was appointed nagid of all the Jews in the Sherifian Empire. Pious, generous, and learned, he built and maintained many schools for poor children. abraham (ii) succeeded his brother Moses as nagid. Another brother, jacob, became governor of the port of Tetuán. At the beginning of the 19th century joseph abenatar represented Portugal and Denmark as consul in Rabat-Salé. His son abraham (iii), av bet din in Mogador, composed religious poetry. His funeral oration was published under the title Abi'a Ḥidot (Leghorn, 1881).


Baer, Urkunden, 1, pt. 2 (1936), 420–1; esn, 182 ff.; I.S. Emmanuel, Precious Stones of the Jews of Curaçao (1957), index; J. Abensur, Mishpat u-Ẓedakah be-Ya'akov (1894), nos. 14, 92, 201; sihm, France, 2nd series, 6 (1960), 574–9; J. de la Faille, Relation … Maroc (1726), 27–28, 33–41; J. Windus, A Journey to Mequinez (London, 1725), 5–11, 89 ff., 197–8, 219 ff.; J.M. Toledano, Ner ha-Ma'arav (1911), 148, 154–5; Miège, Maroc, 2 (1961), 333, 561; Hirschberg, Afrikah, 2 (1965), 266, 273–6; H.Z. Hirschberg, in: Essays … I. Brodie (1967), 153–81.

[David Corcos]