Kever Shimon HaTzadik
Kever Shimon HaTzadikIsrael news photo: Flash 90

MK Rabbi Menachem Eliezer Moses (United Torah Judaism) sent an urgent message to Minister of Internal Security Yitzchak Aharonovich this week questioning police officers' efficacy in protecting Jewish worshippers. Citing cases in which Jews were attacked by Muslims while praying at holy sites in Jerusalem, Moses challenged Aharonovich: “Why do the police not increase security and catch the criminals?”

Moses mentioned Kever Shimon HaTzadik (The Tomb of Shimon the Righteous) and Har Hazeitim (The Mount of Olives) as two places where Jewish worshippers face particular danger. At a recent event held on the anniversary of Shimon the Righteous's death, several Jews were hurt by rocks thrown by Arabs living nearby, he said.

Regarding the Mount of Olives, MK Moses expressed concern that the recent transfer of responsibility for the site from the Zion police station to the primarily Arab Salah-a-Din station may have been detrimental to Jewish worshippers' security. In one recent case, Jews who were attacked by Arabs carrying heavy rocks called for police assistance, and were told that police would arrive in "approximately 15 minutes," he said. The Jews managed to escape unharmed.

Aharonovitch answers

Aharonovich denied that police were to blame for the ongoing assaults on Jews at holy sites. “I promise you, we are doing everything we can to ensure that there will be no more disturbances,” he assured Moses.

The Tomb of Shimon the Righteous is well-guarded, primarily by civilian guards, Aharonovich said. For the most part, Jews are safe there, he said, adding that event which Moses described was peaceful “with the exception of a solitary case of rock throwing.”

Jerusalem-area police have arrested and charged several people suspected of attacking Jewish worshippers, the minister said. Eleven suspects have been held for questioning, and four case files have been sent to state prosecutors, he stated.