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Video: Cemetery Vandalism on the Mount of Olives

Vandalism at the Mount of Olives Jewish Cemetery in Jerusalem was documented on video. Perpetrator sentenced to 3 months.
By Yoni Kempinski
First Publish: 12/20/2011, 12:16 AM

An incident of cemetery vandalism at the Mount of Olives Jewish Cemetery in Jerusalem was documented on video on November 29, 2011.  The Arab perpetrator, who was consequently found guilty due to the video evidence, was sentenced to three months in prison for his crime. He admitted that he received NIS 1,000 to commit his acts of cemetery desecration.

Avrohom Lubinsky, the founding Chair of the International Committee for the Preservation of Har Hazeitim, wasn't surprised by the footage, as the vandalism has been going on for some time already.

“This video clip is only one example of the rampant vandalism that continues to plague Har Hazeitim", explains Lubinsky, "It was the first time that such vandalism was captured by some of the new surveillance cameras installed on Har Hazeitim. Unfortunately, these acts as well as the frequent stoning of mourners and visitors continue in areas where there are still no cameras and points to the urgent need of deploying a police garrison immediately."

"This is not a freak occurrence", added Charley J. Levine, adviser to the Preservation Committee in Israel, "This sort of vicious vandalism and desecration occurs at Har Hazeitim every single day, some orchestrated and some spontaneous. It is a shame of enormous proportion that this takes place at the oldest and largest Jewish cemetery in the entire world!"

The International Committee for the Preservation of Har Hazeitim serves as a watchdog group urging the powers that be to implement and maintain positive, sustainable measures regarding a wide range of issues plaguing Har Hazeitim, the oldest and largest Jewish cemetery in the world. "We are urging the Knesset to urgently pass legislation calling for stiff mandatory sentences for crimes committed in cemeteries", says Lubinsky, "The criminal in the clip was paid NIS 1,000 for his actions and sentenced to only three months in prison. In most Western countries and in a majority of the United States there is specific legislation mandating stiff jail sentences for desecrating a grave. For example, in New York State the sentence would have been 2 ½ - 4 years. In Florida up to 15 years. The total disregard for law, including the illegal expansion of the Ras al Amud Mosque, must stop.”

Top leadership of the International Committee for the Preservation of Har Hazeitim includes Malcolm Hoenlein, the heads of major American and Israeli-based Jewish organizations, and an active Jerusalem-based Steering Committee (Israel branch of the ICPHH).

The focused aim of the International Committee for the Preservation of Har Hazeitim is the need to sustainably improve the current situation at the Mount of Olives Cemetery. The ICPHH is driven by the need to ameliorate the rampant and systematic grave desecrations, violence directed at visitors, illegal building on land zoned for cemetery use, general neglect and – currently taking place – the illegal expansion of a mosque situated just meters away from the grave of Prime Minister Menachem Begin.