Ministerial Caucus on Har Hazeisim to be Established, High Level ICPHH Mission Hears

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A broad coalition of ministers from a variety of factions in the government will form a special caucus on the security and development of the historic Har Hazeisim. This important development came as part of an unprecedented mission by the International Committee for the Preservation of Har Hazeisim (ICPHH) that was headed by Avrohom Lubinsky, founding chairman and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice President of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, a member of the ICPHH Executive Committee.

The delegation that included representatives from Israel, Europe and the US met with a number of Ministers and heads of Government. MK Rabbi Yoav Ben Zur, the head of the Shas faction, will spearhead the effort to create the multi-party lobby. The delegation was invited by the government to participate in the festivities marking the liberation of Yerushalayim in the 1967 Six-Day War. The delegation, which included representatives from New York, Washington, Toronto, and Los Angeles met with such leading Israeli government officials as Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Minister of Housing and Construction Yoav Galant, Culture Minister Miri Regev, Minister of Religions Rabbi Dovid Azoulai, MK Yoav Ben Zur, and MK Dudi Amsalem,  Chairman of the Knesset Interior Committee.

In accepting the task, Rabbi Ben Zur noted: “I thank the ministers for assigning me this task to assure that the government continues its efforts to secure Har Hazeisim so that visitors can come to the graves of kedoshim and their loved ones without fear.” The delegation urged the government to complete the security fence that has been installed in the perimeter of the Eastern section of Har Hazeisim. It also raised the continued neglect of the area in the vicinity of the burial site of the saintly Rav Ovadia from Bartenura as well as security issues in A-Tor, a main access road to Har Hazeisim.

Also on the agenda of the ICPHH unprecedented mission was its partnership with the government to build the Visitor Educational Center on Har Hazeisim which continues to advance. The delegation and the government mapped out a series of events that are being planned on Har Hazeisim. In analyzing the historic mission, Mr. Lubinsky said: “While it has been seven years since the ICPHH was founded and so much was accomplished, we made it clear that Har Hazeisim must be on the daily conscience of the government and people. As the international cemetery of the Jewish people, we cannot expect anything less than total security.” He thanked officials for vastly improving the security situation on Har Hazeisim which has resulted to a dramatic increase in the number of visitors.

 {Matzav — Israel Bureau}

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