MKs Push Police on Har Hazeisim Security

YERUSHALAYIM -
Police efforts have failed to stop the vandalism and violence at Har Hazeisim. The scene during a recent inspection tour. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Police efforts have failed to stop the vandalism and violence at Har Hazeisim. The scene during a recent inspection tour. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Members of Knesset are refusing to let the issue of security at Har Hazeisim slip from the national agenda and were again pressing the police this week to make the holy site safe for visitors.

A senior police official who appeared before the Knesset Interior Committee on Sunday told the members of the efforts being made to increase security at Har Hazeisim and the problems they have in doing so, but committee chairman David Amsalem (Likud) was not placated.

“You are making efforts, but the bottom line is that Jews don’t visit,” Amsalem said, adding that if he were the Yerushalayim police commander, he would not be able to sleep at night because of the situation.

“National heroes, IDF soldiers and great Rabbanim are buried here… I’m sick of hearing there is no budget. I am ashamed as a citizen and as an MK. We will follow the situation on the mount until it is safe and open to those ascending it,” Amsalem declared.

Avshalom Feld, deputy commander of the Yerushalayim district, described all that they have done, including increasing patrols to 344 per month. In 2014, 37 cases were opened with 14 arrests and six indictments, he said. So far, in 2015, 17 cases were opened and 11 people were arrested, but they were all released because they were minors.

“The problem is that most of those arrested are minors and we deal with them through their parents, who are brought in for investigation. The law doesn’t give a response,” Feld explained.

Feld said there are plans to install 160 more security cameras over the next four years, and they want to build a fence along the eastern area of the mount, but the budget has yet to be authorized.

MK Uri Maklev (UTJ) said that even if the police say there are fewer incidents, the public does not feel that way.

“Every district commander makes promises, and in the end … orphans beg for their parents not to be buried on the mount,” Maklev stated. “You said there’s no station — we added one. You asked for technology — you got it. The punishments were made more stringent, the budget went up, and the results were a total failure…As long as people avoid visiting Har Hazeisim, it is a sign that the security failed.”