E. Talpiot residents adjust to possibility they're Jesus's neighbors

Local resident says she'd "be glad if Christian tourists from all over the world came to Israel."

kids tomb 1980 (photo credit: )
kids tomb 1980
(photo credit: )
A mixture of excitement and uncertainty prevailed on Monday among East Talpiot residents who discovered they've been living all these years next to what the new Discovery Channel movie The Lost Tomb of Jesus claims was the final resting place of Jesus, his mother, brother, partner Mary Magdalene and possibly their son Judah. Journalists, photographers and curious passers-by congregated at the alleged historical site Monday from early morning until dark. "We moved here right after the construction of the buildings in the area was completed, in 1982," said Tova Bracha, who lives in the building closest to the underground tomb on which the documentary centers. "Our children got into this cave and played in it. They told us they discovered a little cave and found Torah scrolls in it. We went inside as well and we saw drawings on the cave's walls. We called the authorities, and they came to close the entrance to the cave. "A year ago, a delegation of archeologists from Canada came here and asked permission to get inside the cave and film it," she added. "Three weeks ago, on my way back home, I met a journalist who asked me how would I feel if the cave I live next to turned out to be Jesus's tomb. I was shocked, and then she said this was the Canadian delegation's gift to Israel." Bracha does not know what to believe. "I have read about the Israeli archeologists' reservations but I am acquainted with the history of the area and realize that it is possible. When we first found out about it we decided to keep it quiet because we didn't want people to think we were crazy. Anyway, I will be glad if this turns out to be real and Christian tourists from all over the world come to Israel because of it," she said. Ida Rosenfeld, another resident who lives in a building next to the cave, said on Monday she had known about it ever since her family moved there 14 years ago. "When we bought the house there was a sign on the map the contractor showed us that read 'burial cave.' There are many of these sorts of burial caves in the area - on the hilly range of this neighborhood, for example. Besides, everybody knows that no matter where you put your hoe in Jerusalem, you'll find something old and historical," she said skeptically. A security guard who was sent by a local security company to guard the site said Monday he did not know who was paying for his services. The company he works for refused to disclose the identity of the company that hired them, he said. The Israel Antiquities Authority, Jerusalem Municipality and Jerusalem District Police all said they had not hired the guard.