Knesset to discuss security at Mount of Olives cemetery (JERUSALEM POST) By MELANIE LIDMAN 02/27/12)
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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
The 3,000-year-old 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.
“The Mount 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 injured.
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 Olives..
“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.”
Last month, 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 the police.
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. (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 02/27/12)
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