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Graves Vandalized on Mount of Olives

Despite Knesset's plan to protect Jerusalem graves, Lalov Rebbe's tomb is vandalized yet again. Local Arabs suspected in incident.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 2/26/2010, 10:18 AM / Last Update: 2/26/2010, 11:17 AM

Lalov chassidim were dismayed Thursday to discover that the tomb of the Rebbe of Lalov had been desecrated. The grave site on Jerusalem's Mount of Olives (Har Hazeitim) was vandalized, and the vandals even set fire to a space inside the tomb.

The incident was not the first of its kind. Approximately three months earlier, Lalov chassidim who came to visit the rebbe's grave found that the tombstone had been smashed with sledgehammers.

Other graves in the ancient cemetery have been vandalized as well. In November, relatives of the deceased were horrified to find that dozens of graves were methodically broken and stray dogs had taken up residence in the ruins.

At a November Knesset meeting, representatives of various government offices agreed to work together to restore security to the site.

Chaim Miller of the Movement for the Citizens of Jerusalem informed Jerusalem police chief Ilan Franko of the incident and asked him to take immediate action. “The Jerusalem Police must find the criminals who did this and ensure that Jews can visit the Mount of Olives safely,” they said.

The working assumption is that Arabs from the neighborhood were responsible for the vandalism, Miller said. The Lalov Rebbe's tomb has apparently been targeted due to the large number of visitors, he said. Arab attackers see that the tomb belongs to that of a great Jewish leader and choose it as their target in order to demoralize as many people as possible, he said.