Just a few hours before Members of Knesset gathered at the Mount of Olives for the 20th yarzeit of former prime Minister Menachem Begin on Monday, American Jewish leaders urged the Knesset to improve the security situation at the ancient Jewish cemetery, which suffers from grave desecration and stone throwing against worshippers.
“The history of Har Hazeitim [the Mount of Olives] is the history of the Jewish people,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice president of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “If you want to keep Jerusalem united, you have to keep Har Hazeitim,” he said.
Along with members of the International Committee for the Protection of Har Hazeitim (ICPHH), Hoenlein and founders Abe and Menachem Lubinsky advocated for closing portions of the road that runs through the cemetery to cut down on vandalism and grave desecration. Abe Lubinsky, a businessman from New York, said the graves closest to the road are in “terrible shape” and many have been smashed and destroyed. The road is used by residents of Ras Al Amud, the Arab neighborhood located next to the cemetery.
ICCPHH’s supporters also demanded police increase their presence at the rotary at the entrance to Ras al Amud, which is the site of frequent stonings from young Arab residents, many of whom learn at a nearby school.
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