Daily Israel Report

Arabs Riot at Rachel's Tomb

Local Arabs hurled rocks at Jews who came to pray at the holy site.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 2/21/2012, 4:49 PM

Rachel's Tomb
Rachel's Tomb
Arutz Sheva

Arabs rioted Tuesday near the Rachel's Tomb compound, on the outskirts of Bethlehem, and hurled rocks at Jews who came there to pray.  

A Border Police force sealed off access to the holy site for some time until order was restored.

Miriam Aadani, who manages the Rachel's Tomb Heritage Fund, told Arutz Sheva Tuesday that the riots prove the government was wrong when it decided not to include the site among those heritage sites that will undergo "renovation and empowerment" this year.  

"We know that Rachel's Tomb is not sufficiently protected from a security point of view," she explained, "and today we received additional proof of this."

Aadani said that the fund has received an NIS 5M donation from abroad that made it possible to carry out renovation work, which is ongoing. Still, she added, a roof needs to be built over the compound, to protect visitors from rocks and gunfire, and to allow them to view the dome on the Tomb's roof without fear.

In addition, she said, protected parking needs to be provided for the thousands of people who come to the Tomb to pray.

Rachel's Tomb today looks like a fortress, in contrast to the domed structure seen in earlier photographs. High concrete walls topped by wire fencing protect drivers on both sides of the access road and enclose the compound and its small parking lot. As the wall was being built, Arabs built edifices nearby that are higher than the walls, but these buildings remain empty. The compound is full of Jewish worshippers, tourists and schoolbuses throughout the day.