Urgent Call for Construction Of Wall Around Har Hazeisim Amidst Ongoing Violence

Israeli Border policemen setting up a road block at the entrance to the eastern Yerushalayim neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber on Wednesday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israeli Border policemen setting up a road block at the entrance to the eastern Yerushalayim neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber on Wednesday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“The ongoing violence in Yerushalayim and other cities throughout Israel points to an urgent need for the immediate construction of a wall around Har Hazeisim” was the essence of a plea by Avrohom Lubinsky, founding chairman of the International Committee for the Preservation of Har Hazeisim (ICPHH).

Lubinsky noted that in meetings with ICPHH leaders, police officials had endorsed the idea even before the most recent spate of violence in the city. “We cannot afford to leave the holiest and most important Jewish cemetery in Judaism with 150,000 kedoshim exposed and at the mercy of violent mobs who simply can crisscross the cemetery and desecrate graves and throw rocks at mourners at will.”

The ICPHH statement thanked police officials and Border Police units for protecting the holy site during these turbulent days. It also congratulated the Knesset and the Government for “putting teeth in the new tough laws against rock throwers by adding minimum sentences and holding parents of minors responsible for the actions of their offspring.”

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked promised the ICPHH that she would vigorously prosecute the offenders. Police have made several hundred arrests in recent weeks, with most awaiting prosecution. The ICPHH had long lobbied for the tougher laws, and had brought to the attention of various Knesset committees examples of such legislation in the United States. In making its case for enclosing the entire area of the Jewish cemetery, the ICPHH pointed out that most cemeteries in the world have walls.

Founded more than five years ago, the ICPHH has successfully arranged for 142 cameras, as well as a police substation, to be installed on Har Hazeisim. Despite these major enhancements to the security of the cemetery, there have been several large-scale desecrations in the eastern part of the cemetery (i.e. Polin, Gur, and Afghanistan).

In an emotional appeal, the ICPHH leader said: “No Jew can feel safe until the 150,000 neshamos can rest in true peace!” He pointed out that the wall would more than fulfill the imperative of kavod hameis; it will also go a long way towards keeping visitors and mourners safe.

An ICPHH leadership group is planning to visit Israel in the coming days to press their case with senior government officials for the construction of a wall which, according to Mr. Lubinsky, “must be impregnable and supported by sophisticated electronic gear.”