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Rabbi on Mount of Olives Violence: Are We Waiting for a Tragedy?

Rabbi Hillel Horowitz, Jerusalem Director of Cemeteries, steps in to fight Arab violence against mourners, slams helpless police.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 1/16/2014, 3:30 PM

Rabbi Hillel Horowitz, Director of Cemeteries in Jerusalem, declared Thursday that he is moving his office to a location next to the access road to the Mount of Olives (Har Hazeitim) Cemetery.

Rabbi Horowitz’s unusual office transfer comes in a gesture of frustration over the lack of an official response to ongoing violence against visitors to the ancient cemetery.

Jewish visitors to the cemetery have been attacked, and Jewish graves vandalized, in a wave of Arab nationalist violence in the area. Most recently the Cohen family was attacked while going to visit the tomb of their son and brother Neria Cohen, who was murdered by a terrorist in 2008.

“We can’t put up with this,” Rabbi Horowitz declared, speaking to Arutz Sheva. “Jews who visit the Mount of Olives are constantly suffering attacks from Arabs in the area.”

He said he has appealed to the police for help many times. “We’ve demanded officers here, police vans on the main road up,” he recalled. However, he said, nothing has been done.

“What are we waiting for? For a tragedy to happen?” he demanded.

“When G-d forbid something does happen, everyone will ask why they didn’t do anything to prevent it, why they didn’t do what was necessary in time,” he said. “That’s why I’m moving my office now – in an attempt to take preventative action.”

The Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee discussed the issue of violence against Jews on the Mount of Olives on Wednesday. Committee head Miri Regev (Likud) said after the meeting, “I’m very disappointed by the police. I don’t understand why nothing has changed since our last meeting.”

MK Regev declared she would create closer Knesset supervision. She set up a subcommittee to monitor the situation, headed by MK Yisrael Eichler (Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ).