A new stronger gate separating Har Hazeisim from the neighboring A-Sheikh Arab neighborhood was restored on Monday, the International Committee for Har Hazeisim (ICHH) reported. The area just below the Afghanistan and Taiman chelkas used to be a thoroughfare for Arab vehicles crisscrossing the cemetery until it was closed with a new security fence ringing the Eastern section of the cemetery. The fence was the result of almost three years of lobbying by the ICHH.
The ICHH thanked Yoav Galant, the Minister of Housing and Construction, for rebuilding a much stronger gate and instituting other new security measures to assure that there is no repeat of the Arab vandalism which destroyed the gate. It was nearly three weeks ago that the ICHH representatives learned that the fence was torn down by Arab vandals and that vehicles were once again crossing through a road in the cemetery that was appropriately named “Derech Levayot,” After learning of the breech, the ICHH reached out to MK Rabbi Yoav ben Zur who chairs the 67-member Knesset Caucus on Har Hazeitim(largest ever in the history of Knesset). Rabbi ben Zur immediately met with Minister Galant whose ministry is responsible for the security on Har Hazeisim.
Abe Lubinsky, chairman of the ICHH said that the “quick action by the Minister is further proof of the government’s new zero tolerance policy when it comes to the security on Har Hazeisim.” He thanked both the Minister and MK ben Zur for acting so expeditiously. “We shall never allow a return to the chaos, abuse, and desecration that existed prior to the founding of the Committee in May 2010,” said Mr. Lubinsky.
In addition to the new gates, the area is now ringed with surveillance cameras that are monitored 24/7 as well as police and border police units. With the new safety on Har Hazeisim, thousands of visitors have returned to the ancient 3000-year old cemetery. MK ben Zur revealed that the Caucus would soon meet on a host of issues pertaining to the security and development of the holy cemetery.