PIECES OF shattered Jewish grave stone at Mt. of Olives 390.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
The deteriorating security situation at the Mount of Olives cemetery is set to
be discussed on Monday at an emergency hearing with the Knesset Committee on
Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs, after Diaspora Jewish leaders made
saving the cemetery one of their central concerns.
cemetery, which is one of the oldest Jewish burial sites, suffers from rampant
desecration of graves and violence against visitors, including stones thrown at
mourners and family members as they enter or leave the site.
of Olives is a microcosm of the Jewish people’s history for the past 3,000
years,” said Danny Danon (Likud), the chairman of the Knesset committee in a
statement released by his office.
“It has served as the burial place for
Jews since the time of the Second Temple. We will not allow our citizens to be
attacked in the historical sites and on the roads of our capital. We must hold
law-enforcement officials responsible and ensure they put an end to these
On Friday, Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, visited the
Mount of Olives cemetery with US Congressmen Eliot Engel (D-New York) and
Jerrold Nadler (DNew York). A large rock was thrown at the group while they
examined some of the recent vandalism, though no one was
Additionally, more than 600 people gathered at Jerusalem’s Great
Synagogue on Saturday night to hear Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Danny Ayalon
(Israel Beiteinu), MKs Isaac Herzog (Labor) and Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) speak
about the importance of improving the security situation on the Mount of
“If we do not keep Jerusalem strong, then our entire position is
compromised,” Ayalon told the crowd.
“We must build on our past and the
Mount of Olives is an integral part of it. I have grandparents buried there and
I think every Israeli has a connection to the sacred site.”
Jerusalem police announced that a permanent police station with 25 police
officers would be opened in a matter of weeks on the Mount of Olives to combat
stone-throwing and desecration of graves. The station was supposed to be opened
two weeks ago but has been delayed a number of times.
Meir Indor, who
heads the Almagor Terror Victim’s Association and who was injured in a
stone-throwing attack in the fall of 2010, appealed to the Public Security
Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch (Israel Beiteinu) and the Knesset Internal Affairs
and Environment Committee to create a volunteer civilian police force to assist
In a letter to Aharonovitch, Indor stressed that cameras are
not sufficient to stopping vandalism, especially because there are large blind
spots, and that only with active patrols can the security situation be improved
in and around the cemetery.