Yerushalayim Municipality Issues Order to Halt Construction of Illegal Mosque on Har Hazeisim


har-hazeisim1The Yerushalayim Municipality, headed Mayor Nir Barkat, has issued a “Stop Order” on construction of a mosque a mere ten feet from the gravesite of former Prime Minister Menachem Begin on Har Hazeisim. The order, made public yesterday, called for all those involved in the construction to “cease all building activity” at the site. The illegal construction is to expand the Ras al-Amud Mosque, much of it built illegally on Israeli land, which is part of the 3,000 year-old bais hakevaros that includes some 100,000 kevorim.

The mayor’s order to halt construction comes in the wake of a letter sent Tuesday night by the International Committee for the Preservation of Har Hazeisim to Mayor Barkat. In the letter, the Committee headed by Mr. Avrohom Lubinsky, a Brooklyn activist and businessman, noted that the situation on Har Hazeisim continues to deteriorate saying, “local Arabs have worked around the clock to complete this Mosque which will distort the Yerushalayim the Prime Minister so cherished…Instead of the peace and tranquility that the sanctity of the area deserves, it will be violated by Muslim worshippers who will no doubt use the access roads to Har Hazeisim as a parking lot.” The letter firmly requested that mayor Barkat, “urgently put a stop to this ultimate desecration of our ancient cemetery, to┬áthe defilement of the burial site of a national leader, and to the total disregard for national and municipal laws.”

In addition to being built right near graves on Har Hazeisim, the expansion of the mosque would have meant that Arab worshippers would turn Har Hazeisim into a parking lot further denying mourners and visitors the respect normally accorded to people visiting a cemetery. It would have obstructed the view of the Yerushalayim Mr. Begin so loved and cherished.

Mr. Lubinsky expressed the hope that the police in Yerushalayim would move swiftly to enforce the order, putting a halt to the desecration of Har Hazeisim by seeing to it that the entire illegal structure is summarily dismantled. He said that the ICPHH in the US and Israel would continue to monitor the situation. Mr. Lubinsky added: “We congratulate the Mayor and the Municipality for taking this action and implore the police to quickly put an end to this shameful disregard for the holiest and oldest Jewish cemetery.”

{Yair Israel}