Arab construction workers are once again desecrating Har Hazeisim, storing construction material from the Ras al Amud Mosque expansion near graves in the ancient Jewish cemetery.
The activity is in clear violation of a recent stop order, said Israeli representatives of the International Committee for the Preservation of Har Hazeisim. A delegation led by Jeff Daube confirmed the unprecedented desecration during a visit to Har Hazeisim Monday, after residents of the nearby Maale Hazeitim neighborhood discovered the renewed illegal construction of the mosque.
The construction materials were found placed near the gravesite of Harav Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook, z”l, Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin, a”h, and other notables.
“The chutzpah and shameless desecration of Har Hazeisim has reached a new low in the ongoing disregard, disrespect and desecration of Har Hazeisim by local Arabs,” said Avrohom Lubinsky, Chairman of the ICPHH. “How could the Israeli government and its people celebrate Israel’s independence when such total disregard for the respect of the dead takes place in front of their noses?” He added: “Is this what they call independence — when Arabs defile and abuse our history and our past?”
The expansion of the mosque has long been a bone of contention of the Committee, which ultimately secured a stop order by the Municipality of Yerushalayim. The mosque is located in front of the Ras al Amud Square, the scene of many stone-throwing incidents, including the assaults on Congressmen Elliot Engel and Jerrold Nadler.
Lubinsky said that despite improved security on Har Hazeisim itself due to a network of 137 surveillance cameras and a police substation, the periphery such as the Ras al Amud Square remains a danger zone.
“It is high time that the Israeli government put an end to the Arab free rein on one of Judaism’s holiest sites, as was evidenced by the unprecedented desecration these last few days,” said Lubinsky. He called for Jews around the world to unite behind the efforts of the committee to restore Har Hazeisim to its deserved glory.