Vandals desecrate war memorial in Jerusalem

Among the slogans, vandals write "Zionism is the original sin, Zionists are wretched" and "Gunter Grass was right."

desecrated Ammunition Hill_370 (photo credit: Courtesy Israel Police/Asaf Avras)
desecrated Ammunition Hill_370
(photo credit: Courtesy Israel Police/Asaf Avras)
Anti-Zionist vandals desecrated the war memorial at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem, just a day before Remembrance Day begins.
The vandals spray painted “Zionism is the original sin,” “Zionists are wretched,” and “Günter Grass was right” on the entrance to the museum.
Grass is a German writer who composed a poem earlier this month calling Israel a serious threat to global peace and security.
The Interior Ministry subsequently declared the poet persona non grata.
The vandals also tried to burn the large flag that flies atop Ammunition Hill, but they were unsuccessful.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat slammed the attacks and immediately sent the anti-graffiti teams from the municipality to clean the site.
Police opened an investigation, but Jerusalem deputy police spokeswoman Shlomit Bajshi said police had no leads on the perpetrators.
Ammunition Hill director Katri Maoz said the graffiti he found most offensive was the damage to a memorial for soldiers who died in the line of duty and were children of soldiers who fought at the site in the Six Day War.
The vandals blacked out a verse from the Torah inscribed on the memorial – “The children will remember the covenant of their fathers.”
Maoz said he thought the site was targeted because it is a wellknown location that attracts many different sectors of the population.
“Always before Remembrance Day it’s a sensitive and difficult time,” said Maoz.
“During this time the nation actually finds a way to unite and leave the disagreements behind, and someone is trying to destroy this.”
MK Uri Ariel (National Union), the head of the Jerusalem lobby, condemned the attack’s timing right before Remembrance Day and accused the perpetrators of “lacking any Jewish sensitivity.”
The attack comes three days after extremists defaced three monuments to Israeli terror victims and fallen members of the security services in the Jordan Valley.
Anti-Israel slogans in Hebrew were found spray painted in black, including the words “the fallen were killed for their treason” on a stone wall bearing the names of hundreds of soldiers that were killed since 1967.
Meanwhile, the government’s answer to the vandalism was to schedule a cabinet meeting there on Jerusalem Day on May 20, and to put forward a NIS 20 million plan to preserve and upgrade the site.
“We will not let those who want to destroy and damage the site – in memory of the fighters and heroic story of the Six Day War – get what they want,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said.
“We owe a great debt both to our fighters and to commemorate their memories. The legacy of the heroism of the IDF soldiers will continue, and we will work to rehabilitate and upgrade the site.”
Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser, who went to the site to assess the damages, said this plan would come to the cabinet on Jerusalem Day for its approval.
Hauser also called on IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz to go ahead with plans to exhibit arms from the Paratroop Brigade at the site starting on Independence Day. The display was scuttled because of budgetary reasons.
“We need to send a message to the vandals that we will not let them harm Ammunition Hill,” Hauser said. “We will develop this site because it tells the story of the battle for Jerusalem, which was liberated and united.”