New Incidents on Har Hazeisim Spur Concern by International Committee


har-hazeisimAfter a relatively quiet summer on and near Har Hazeisim, at least three disturbing incidents within the last two weeks has promoted the International Committee for the Preservation of Har Hazeisim, headed by Avrohom Lubinsky, to issue a new call for additional security measures on the oldest and holiest Jewish cemetery in the world. Stuck in a traffic jam just outside Har Hazeisim, Marc Daniel Selig and a passenger were viciously attacked by Arab teenagers on Thursday September 20th. After incessantly kicking the van, the youths proceeded to break the windows. Mr. Selig and a fellow tour guide were thankfully not injured although their vehicle suffered extensive damages. One of the teenagers even brazenly yanked the yarmulke off the head of the passenger. Arab adult passersby watched the attacked without interfering, Mr. Selig said.

In yet another disturbing development, a recently taken video shows Arab youths jumping from grave to grave as a sport that some say has been a regular feature of local Arab life for almost 90 years. MKs Michael Ben-Ari and Aryeh Eldad of the National Union party recently visited the Arab neighborhood along the road to the Mount of Olives and asked Arab adults about the repeated desecrations of the holy site. Local adults admitted that youth repeatedly attack Jews along the road, but gave varying excuses for the phenomenon, rather than offering to try to put a stop to their youngsters’ behavior

Earlier this month, three Arab youths were caught in the process of trying to burn several Tehillim on Har Hazeisim. The three perpetrators, Arab teens about 16 years old, are residents of the Arab neighborhood adjacent to the cemetery. All were arrested; two confessed to the crime, and the third was also found to have been involved although he continued to deny it. Police told reporters they plan to expedite prosecution of the case.

Mr. Selig who sought to file a report at the relatively new police substation on Har Hazeisim found that the station was closed for another hour until 9 a.m. He instead filed his report at another police station. When he the desk officer why there was no police presence at such a crucial hour in the morning with so many Arab kids hanging out in front of the schools up there, he replied that “they are very sorry, but they cannot be everywhere all the time.”

Mr. Lubinsky said that “we cannot accept a police presence that has turned into a 9-5 shift lest we continue to suffer from similar attacks.” He called for an immediate expansion of the police presence, cameras on the access roads, new fencing, and laws to prosecute the minors who have turned violence into a recreational activity.” He said that he and other member of the Committee as well as representatives of the Israeli committee would urgently be meeting with officials in Jerusalem after the Yomim Tovim to press for the increased security measures.”

Mr. Lubinsky said he was sure that the police were aware of the “sport” of trampling on graves but were reluctant to arrest the youngsters because of the revolving door justice. “It is said that such defilement and desecration can be allowed to continue under the noses of a Jewish state.” He called the ultimate “bizoyon hameis” (abuse of the dead). “While we have certainly made much progress in reducing the incidents of violence through the network of surveillance cameras and a police presence, the recent incidents prove once again that much more needs to be done,” said Mr. Lubinsky

This past July, Arabs in a car who struck a vehicle with Jewish passengers near the cemetery got out of their car and began to attack the Jewish driver and his daughter. The lone police officer present was unable to stop the violence and was forced to call for backup. In a separate incident, a Jew who visited his grandfather’s grave at the cemetery in June was horrified to discover local Arabs had used the cemetery as a place to throw out trash and burn household waste.

In February, U.S. Representatives Elliot Engel and Jerry Nadler, and Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of American Jewish Organizations Malcolm Hoenlein (a prominent member of the International Committee for the Preservation of Har Hazeisim) were attacked by Arab rock throwers during their own visit to Har Hazeisim. The two lawmakers and Hoenlein all noted past video evidence of Arab vandalism and desecration at the Jewish holy site.

{ Israel News Bureau}