Mount of Olives Cemetery to undergo NIS 100m restoration

Badly-needed work will include repair of hundreds of vandalized graves.

mount of olives 88.298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
mount of olives 88.298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
In a long overdue move, the Jerusalem Municipality is planning to carry out extensive renovation and restoration work at the city's ancient Mount Of Olives cemetery, the city said Wednesday. The five-year NIS 100 million project, which is being carried out jointly with the prime minister's office, will see the restoration of tens of thousands of graves and tombstones in the dilapidated cemetery, the installation of a 24 hour closed-circuit security system at the site, as well as the establishment of information center at the entrance to the cemetery. The badly-needed restoration work, which will get underway in the coming days, was agreed upon following a meeting between Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski and Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on the issue, the city said. Hundreds of Jewish graves have been vandalized at the cemetery, located adjacent to several Arab neighborhoods, over the last five years of Palestinian violence. Upkeep and maintenance at the forlorn site were heretofore virtually nonexistent due in part to a lack of funding, burial officials have said. Jewish tradition holds that the resurrection of the dead will begin at the cemetery on the Mount of Olives. Among the 150,000 graves on the holy mount include those of the Israeli prophets Zechariah (who prophesized there,) Haggai, and Malachi as well as modern-day dignitaries such as Menachem Begin and Shai Agnon.