Visitors to the old Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives were again shocked to find several graves desecrated. Authorities responsible for the cemetery could not be reached for comment.
Visitors to the old Jewish Cemetery on Har HaZeitim (Mount of Olives) were dismayed Sunday morning to discover that several tombs were destroyed or desecrated, apparently by Muslim vandals.
“I was shocked to see the vandalism caused to the tombstones on Har HaZeitim when I visited,” Nachi Eyal, director-general of the Legal Forum for Israel, told Tazpit News Agency. “I call on the Israeli government to repair the broken tombstones and to return safety and security to Har HaZeitim.”
Tazpit attempted to clarify with the Director of Jewish Cemeteries in Jerusalem whether the destruction was recent, but received no answer.
Photos provided by Tazpit demonstrate the extent of the destruction; if the damage is not recent, apparently no effort had been made by the relevant authorities to fix them, the news agency points out.
Repeated Target for Muslim Vandals and Rioters
The old Jewish cemetery on Har HaZeitim has been the target of multiple attacks perpetrated by Muslim vandals. Police have installed security cameras in the vicinity, but to no avail.
Earlier this month, police announced the arrest of a group of Arab vandals. The three suspects, aged 22, 15 and 12, residents of the Jerusalem neighborhood of A-Tur, are thought to have destroyed graves at the site over the course of the past month. Security cameras at the cemetery were also destroyed, and fires were set to rabbis’ tombs.
Dozens of graves at the cemetery were uprooted and smashed on October 12, leading police to launch an investigation that led to the arrest.
Earlier this year, Tova Richler, an American citizen on her way to attend her father’s funeral, was viciously attacked by Arab rioters. The attack was so intense that she was unable to arrive at her destination, causing her much grief.
Following the attack, the Zionist Organization of America’s Israel director, Jeff Daube, sent a letter to Jerusalem Consul General Michael Ratney, with copies to the U.S. State Department. Daube cited an article describing Richler’s inability to attend her own father’s funeral due to the attack. He also referred to other recent stoning attacks on American citizens that resulted in serious injury, while reminding the consul that the situation has deteriorated over many years. He sent copies to a dozen leaders in the U.S. and Israel who are especially concerned with the growing threat to the cemetery and the eastern Jerusalem environs.
A Tradition of Muslim Sacrilege
The sacrilegious Muslim tradition of grave vandalism at Har HaZeitim goes back at least to the 1950s and 1960s, when the cemetery was occupied by Jordan. Jordan systematically desecrated graves at the cemetery and used the stones for construction.
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Author: United with Israel Staff