Group Demands Video Surveillance for Mt. of Olives Cemetery
Haim Miller, chairman of the Movement for Jerusalem Organization, is set to present a demand for the installation of dozens of video cameras to monitor the goings-on at the Mount of Olives Cemetery at a meeting of government ministers Monday .
In a recent meeting, Miller told of how he had discovered an Arab house built completely of tombstones, and of shocked visitors to graves of loved ones who reported seeing hundreds of wild dogs roaming the cemetery grounds, with dogs taking refuge inside partially opened graves.
The ancient cemetery, where Jews through then ages asked to be buried due to its proximity to the Old City walls and where there are new areas used for burial today, has for years been the target of Arab vandals who have stolen or wrecked tombstones, desecrated graves, and stolen metal fixtures used to hold memorial candles.
During the period between 1948-1967 when Jordan occupied the area, the desecration was sanctioned and graves were used for latrines and road building. Bnai Akiva volunteers recently used handwritten records to identify the vandalized stones and make the names on them visible again.
In a recent meeting of the ministerial committee, which first met several months ago to discuss the problems at the cemetery, Miller told of how he had discovered an Arab house built completely of tombstones, and of shocked visitors to graves of loved ones who reported seeing hundreds of wild dogs roaming the cemetery grounds, with dogs taking refuge inside partially opened graves.
Miller said Saturday night that in recent months, the Rabbinical Council of Europe had decided to install a complete video surveillance system at the three Jewish cemeteries in Istanbul. The decision was made after recent anti-Israel riots in Turkey, and desecrations of some graves that came in the wake of the riots. Miller said that “what can be done in Istanbul must be done on the Mount of Olives.”
“I have been closely following the legislative process that will hopefully solve the problems at the cemetery,” said Miller, a former Jerusalem city council member. “I will not stop my efforts and I will not leave in peace the officials who are supposed to prevent the great shame and mockery of those who should be resting in peace at the cemetery. It would be better if we would take action now, and not wait until more of the terrible desecrations that are planned by the Arab rioters tale place.” He added that recent institution of patrols and a program to rehabilitate the site had improved the situation somewhat, but that it was “a shame that in the Jewish state it takes so long to arrive at solutions.”