Closed Road, Additional Border Police Adds up to Month Without Vandalism On Har Hazeisim


har hazeisim“The month that passed was one of the quietest in recent memory on Har Hazeisim and the reasons are quite clear,” said Avrohom Lubinsky, Chairman of the International Committee for the Preservation of Har Hazeisim (ICPHH). Mr. Lubinsky said that the closure of a road that runs through Har Hazeisim (it is in fact called “derech halevayot”) and used by local residents as a shortcut highway to neighboring Arab villages has greatly contributed to the curtailed violence. The stationing of a significant force of border police has also made a big difference, according to the ICPHH.

“It is imperative that the measures employed in the last month are permanently maintained,” said Mr. Lubinsky. He said that previous upticks in security were short-lived. The month of quiet was noteworthy because it was during the Arab holy month of Ramadan, a period that is usually marked by an increase in violence. Prior to the month of quiet, some 90 graves were desecrated, 50 in the Afghanistan section. In meetings with senior government officials last month, the ICPHH was promised the construction of new fencing and walls around the Eastern part of the cemetery which includes the Afghanistan, Yemenite, Polen and Gur sections of the cemetery.

Chief Inspector Chaim Shmueli who is responsible for Eastern Jerusalem said that our goal is “to keep anyone that does not belong on Har Hazeisim off the mountain.” Inspector Shmueli closed the road in what he called “a first step” in securing the cemetery. He was particularly proud of the arrangements that were made to protect some 20,000 people that recently came to Har Hazeisim to mark the yahrzeit of the saintly Ohr Hachaim. The yahrzeit came off without incident as opposed to previous years when busses and visitors were pelted with rocks.

Despite the quiet on Har Hazeisim itself, residents of Maale Hazeitim, just across the road from the cemetery, experienced a night of terror last Thursday night as Arab thugs threw Molitov cocktails and firecrackers at the homes of the residents. Joshua Wander, who is a member of the development’s security committee and also active with ICPHH said that the police response was slow and when they did come, “they seemed to blame us and did nothing to give chase.”

“We know that the Arabs have not given up in diluting the Jewish presence in the 3000-year old cemetery,” said Mr. Lubinsky. “They don’t even acknowledge that it is a cemetery, instead calling it an extension of their Ras al Amud neighborhood.” Lubinsky said that he was hoping that the new government would once and for all deal with the security of Har Hazeisim and its approaches.

The ICPHH says that there has been an increased interest by government officials in securing Har Hazeisim. It pointed to the recent flurry of visits by government ministers, Mayor Nir Barkat and President Reuven Rivlin. The Mayor has promised significant funds to bolster the security of Har Hazeisim.

The ICPHH also lauded the first reading passage of a bill that would impose up to 10 years for throwing a rock at a moving vehicle, a reoccurring problem, particularly in East Yerushalayim. The bill by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked will have enormous benefit to visitors and mourners on Har Hazeisim. Of significance is that prosecutors will not have to prove an intent to kill in securing g the tough new sentences.

{ Israel News Bureau}


  1. Closing the road to traffic is a good beginning, at best. The road should be closed to all people using the road as a shortcut, especially the HS kids. The stone throwers have almost always been teens who walk on the road, not the drivers of vehicles.