More than 20 Knesset members from every faction of the Knesset (with the exception of the United Arab List) participated in the second official meeting of the Knesset Caucus on Har Hazeisim on March 7th. Chaired by MK Rabbi Yoav ben Zur (chairman of the Shas faction in the Knesset), the meeting was also attended by Avrohom Lubinsky, chairman of the International Committee on Har Hazeisim (ICHH), members of the City Council, representatives of several Ministries, and senior police officials.
MK Uri Maklev (UTJ) called for additional measures “to assure that the vandalism and grave desecrations of past years never occur again.” Rabbi ben Zur said that “a great deal of the credit for the improved security on Har Hazeisim was the extraordinary work of the police.” Mr. Lubinsky echoed those sentiments saying that the “improved security has resulted in thousands of people coming daily to the holy site where 150,000 Jews over 3000 years are buried, a far cry from the less than 200 that came daily in 2016.” He said that it was no coincidence that the US recognition of Yerushalayim as the capital came one day after the establishment of the caucus with 67 members, the largest ever in the history of the Knesset and a clear demonstration of Jewish unity.”
In addition to security, the caucus meeting also focused on restoring some of the 30,000 graves that were destroyed during the Jordanian occupation (1948-1967). City Council member Pinchas Ezra even suggested recruiting yeshiva students to volunteer for the task. City Council Member Shmuel Marciano said that “a place where so many tsaddikim are buried requires nothing short of a total klal yisroel commitment.” City Council Member Moshe Leon called the “caucus a symbol of the importance of securing the kevorim of so many holy Jews.”
Chairman ben Zur praised the ICHH for “waking up the entire Jewish nation to the shame of our silence when graves were being desecrated.” Raphy Nissel (Los Angeles), a member of the Executive Committee of the ICHH, thanked all those who made it possible to again visit the graves of loved ones.
Police officials reported on the many additional steps that they hope to initiate to further improve security. Of late, additional cameras and lighting were added in addition to the fencing that was erected around the Eastern perimeter of the cemetery. Bus transportation was renewed and many parts of the cemetery were being upgraded.