Police Seal Major Arab Thoroughfare on Har Hazeisim in First Step to Restrict Access by Vandals


har hazeisimThe Israeli police this week blocked off a road on Har Hazeisim (A-Weis Street) which local Arab residents used as a shortcut from the adjacent roads to their villages. The move coincided with a leadership mission of the International; Committee for the Preservation of Har HaZeisim (ICPHH) to meet new Israeli government ministers. Police placed large concrete boulders to halt the non-stop traffic through the historic cemetery, often interrupting levayos and creating logjams on the narrow roads. “This is a major victory for kovod hameis,” said Mr. Avraham Lubinsky, Chairman of the ICPHH, “and as for the Arabs, it isn’t as if they don’t have an alternative just a minute away.”

Lubinsky revealed that in his meetings with all the new key ministers in the Israeli government, there was broad support to “once and for all build fencing (and walls where necessary) to curb the vandalism which in the past few weeks involved 90 graves and nearly 300 incidents of rock throwing throughout East Yerushalayim. The mission included  Avraham and Menachem Lubinsky, the co-chairmen, Dr. Paul Rosenstock, member of the Executive Committee, Harvey Schwartz and Jeff Daube who represent  the Israel chapter of the ICPHH and Jeff Wander who is also with the Israel section and lives in Maale Hazeitim, directly across the street from Har Hazeisim.

The marathon of non-stop meetings with key government officials began on Monday morning with a hearing on Har Hazeisim in the Knesset Interior Committee, chaired by Dudi Amsalem (Likud), who pointed out that this was his  very first meeting of the Interior Committee as chairman and the subject was the security of Har Hazeisim. He called on the government  to designate Har Hazeisim as a National Heritage Site. He joined the chorus of government officials demanding to completely “wall-in” Har Hazeisim. Police officials concurred that the cemetery, specifically the Eastern part which includes Chelkat Polin, Ger, Afghanistan, Teiman, and others must be closed off. Others who participated in the debate included MK Yoav Ben Tzur, MK Rabbi Yisrael Eichler, MK Bezalel Smotritz (Bayit Yehudi), MK Rabbi Uri Maklev, and MK Sharon Gal (Yisrael Beiteinu). Even an MK from the United Arab list, Abdallah Abu Marouf showed up and criticized the grave desecrations as a terrible breach of something that is a “fundamental value” to all but then made the absurd suggestion that the WAKF be part of the committee to take care of Har HaZeisim. He also did not respond to MK Smotritz who akse why no Arabs leaders are condemning the grave desecrations.


The Committee met with key government ministers including  Minister of Housing and Construction (responsible for security on Har Hazeisim) Yoav Galant, Minister of Religion Dovid Azulei,  Minister of Economic Affairs Aryeh Deri, Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked, Minister of Culture and Sports Miri Regev, Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Zev Elkin, Deputy Minister of Defense Eli Ben Dahan, Deputy Minister of Health Yankel Litzman, Cabinet Secretary Avichai Mandelblitt, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Bezalel Smotritz, Opposition Leader David Herzog, MK Yoav Ben Zur, Secretary to Minister for Internal Security Eldan, Moshe Bareket, East Jerusalem Police District Commander Chaim Shmueli, City Council of Jerusalem and more.

“I am extremely pleased with these high level meetings and have every reason to believe that major change is about to come to Har Hazeisim, “ said Mr. Lubinsky. He added: We are confident that with the additional cameras, increased manpower, gating of the cemetery and commencement of several major development projects that Har Hazeisim will be preserved as a national treasure. It is after all the national cemetery of the Jewish people.”  He was particularly enthusiastic that the government is now in full support of the gating/wall concept, an idea that the ICPHH first floated.  He pointed out that even the closing of the A-Weis Street crossing into Har Hazeisim.

Although the ICPHH had secured major achievements on Har Hazeisim in the past five years, including the installation of 137 cameras and a police sub-station, Har Hazeisim is far from secure, but it is hoping that the positive attitude that it found in Jerusalem this week will once and for all bring an end to the national disgrace.

{Matzav.com Israel News Bureau}