Expansion of Illegal Construction of Mosque on Har Hazeisim Stopped, Committee Reports


har-hazeisimIllegal Arab construction on Har Hazeisim was halted indefinitely last week, as Jerusalem police confiscated construction tools that had been used to illegally expand a mosque. In October 2010, Arab residents of East Jerusalem began unauthorized construction on a mosque situated on the Mount of Olives in close proximity to the graves of former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and revered Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook. Despite orders to cease the illegal expansion, workers continued to build until this most recent confiscation of tools from the worksite. Illegal Arab construction is a growing phenomenon in and around East Jerusalem in recent months; Israeli ambivalence to the construction had increased as well.

The police raid on the site came about after months of lobbying by the International Committee for the Preservation of Har Hazeisim which resulted in the Municipality issuing a “Stop Order.” But when the construction continued, the Committee alerted the Legal Forum to seek remedies to enforce the Stop Order. The Legal Forum responded by addressing an urgent letter to Mayor Nir Barkat and the Jerusalem Municipality, demanding an immediate enforcement of a court order to halt the illegal activities on the Mount. The recent response by the Municipality, the seizure of work tools from the site, is a direct response to the Legal Forum and Committees efforts.

Mr. Abraham Lubinsky, head of the International Committee for the Preservation of Har Hazeisim, said that, “The Committee found a natural partner in the Legal Forum, and together we were able to halt the ongoing desecration of a 3000-year old ancient Jewish burial ground that is still in use today. The Committee, together with the Legal Forum, will continue to monitor the situation on Har Hazeisim to ensure that it is open to visitors, treated with the proper respect, and its sanctity not infringed upon by illegal activities.” The illegal construction of the mosque stands to potentially wreak havoc on the ancient Jewish cemetery, as it will result in parking issues, crowding, and restricted access to the graves of loved ones.

The Committee continues to deal with the desecration of graves, as recent as last month, despite the presence of the first group of surveillance cameras. Mr. Lubinsky called the enforcement of the Stop Order “a major step in restoring order and the ultimate respect due to the sanctity of Har Hazeisim.”

{Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}


  1. For the note, I wrote to my republican and democratic senators in my state to make them aware of this situation. Only the Democrat wrote back to me to say that he would keep himself aware of the situation (Sherrod Brown, OH).