With news that rock-throwing and desecration of graves continues, albeit at a much lower level than previously, an urgent campaign to “once and for all secure Har HaZeitim,” was launched by the International Committee for the Preservation of Har HaZeitim (harhazeisim.org). “No Jew should fear to visit Har HaZeitim, the oldest and holiest cemetery and mountain,” said Avrohom Lubinsky, Chairman of the ICPHH. He added: “We’re miraculously very close to recapturing Har HaZeitim; the time has come to close the deal!” he said.
Mr. Lubinsky said that the ICPHH was launching an urgent campaign to raise $35,000 to defray the cost of an intensive lobbying and public relations effort in Israel. He added that he was hoping that the Knesset’s Interior Committee would meet soon to learn from Yitzhak Aharanovitch, Minister of Internal Security, and other high-ranking government officials the plans for permanently securing Har HaZeitim. MK Regev has indicated that she has summoned Mr. Aharanovitch for such a hearing.
Since its founding in 2010, the Committee has managed to persuade the Israeli government to install 142 surveillance cameras, to establish a new police substation, to restore 20,000 destroyed graves, to construct new fencing, and to arrange for regular sanitation and garbage removal from the previously garbage-strewn cemetery. Despite these improvements, stone-throwing at visitors continues and graves are still being desecrated. Jewish sovereignty over the area is being questioned and challenged by Arabs and other world entities despite its 3,000-year history and its status as the burial site of more than 150,000 Jews, dating back to the era of the Nevi’im.
Mr. Lubinsky noted: “We have a historic opportunity to “recapture” Har HaZeitim—to assert Jewish sovereignty and to stem the tide of Arab expansionism. Only Har HaZeitim stops their expansion, which already includes 50,000 illegal homes, and would create a chokehold on Yerushalayim.”
Amongst the Committee’s plans for the future are intentions to force a more robust permanent security apparatus, install additional cameras on the access roads, protect the periphery of Har HaZeitim, and construct a Visitor’s Center and shul. v