'Jews will not be persecuted in their own country'

Shas faction chair prepares for first conference of Mount of Olives lobby: 'We formed a huge Knesset coalition to strengthen hold on Mount.'

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Shimon Cohen & Mordechai Sones,

Ben Tzur visiting Mount of Olives
Ben Tzur visiting Mount of Olives
Office of MK Ben-Tzur

The Knesset will hold, in the presence of the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the Knesset, the first conference of the Lobby for the Mount of Olives under the chairmanship of the Shas faction chairman MK Yoav Ben-Tzur, with whom Arutz Sheva discussed the lobby, its goals, and its achievements to date.

MK Ben-Tzur notes the extensive cooperation he has managed to rally of 65 Knesset members from almost all Knesset parties, from Meretz to the Jewish Home, with only the Joint List having no representation in this lobby.

"The goal is to correct the injustice that, despite Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, one can hardly visit there because of Arab riots. Jews will not be persecuted in their own country. A tough policy is needed in the face of terrorism. We sanctify life and preserve the dignity of those buried."

Ben-Tzur noted the significant cooperation between the police and the various relevant bodies in order to reduce the level of violence on the Mount to almost zero. "From a few dozen incidents a day we arrived at one incident a month, there is almost no desecration of graves, for which we have cooperated with Minister Deri, the Knesset Speaker, Housing Minister Yoav Galant, the Israel Defense Forces, the Minister of Public Security, and the Council of Cemeteries headed by Rabbi Horowitz. When you have a common goal, you achieve it.

"The committee, in cooperation with the Cemetery Council, believes that the place where the Torah giants and the nation's great people are buried must be brought to the knowledge of schoolchildren, and that a large visitors' center will be set up, and we will work to renovate paths and approaches. These things are a great merit for us."

Regarding the cultural activity that he believes will take place on the Mount and has already begun recently, he says: "Students will come to certain graves and become acquainted with the life work of each one, what he did for the people and for the Torah. This is something that can benefit education generally and knowing the nation in its various stripes. There are also cultural activities on the Mount, such as cantorial evenings at a point overlooking the Temple Mount. These events solidify the status of the Mount in the historical consciousness of Israel."

On the enlistment of Knesset members to the Lobby, he relates how almost every member of Knesset who was asked to join noted that he also had a personal connection and a significant family relative among the plots on the Mount.

At the event marking the first conference of the lobby "we will present a declaration of intentions and we will specify what we want to happen on the Mount in the future, and we will seek the cooperation of all those who already work together."

MK Ben-Tzur was asked, as chairman of a large coalition faction, to address the coalition's situation in the face of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and MK David Bitan's investigations and in light of controversial legislation and replied: "The coalition went through very difficult situations and survived them. I have no doubt that this crisis, which is personal and not relevant to the coalition, will pass. This is a strong coalition in which no one wants elections."



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