Good News on Mount of Olives

Surprise: activist Aryeh King says Arab violence on Mount of Olives has dropped sharply as security has increased.

Maayana Miskin , | updated: 21:57

Mount of Olives cemetery
Mount of Olives cemetery
Flash 90

Increased security on the Mount of Olives has succeeded in quelling Arab violence in the area, long-time Jerusalem activist Aryeh King said Sunday in an interview with Arutz Sheva.

Violent activity has dropped by as much as 60% in 2011 compared to 2010, he said. King added that he can speak from personal experience as well as quoting statistics – as a resident of the area, he feels the improved atmosphere.

While last year was filled with reports of smashed tombs and violent assaults on Jews in the area, this year has seen a turn-around, said King. As an example, in July 2010 Arabs smashed the windows of at least 10 Jewish-owned cars in the neighborhood; in July 2011 not a single car has been damaged.

Among the changes made over the past year are video surveillance of the Mount of Olives cemetery, an additional two hourly security patrols in the neighborhood, and an increase in the number of security personnel in the area.

In addition, the city of Jerusalem is working to fence in the historic cemetery in order to protect it, a project King said is long overdue.

The past year has also seen the Jewish presence in the area grow stronger. Recently, a new Jewish neighborhood called Maaleh Zeitim was inaugurated on the Mount of Olives.

King told Arutz Sheva that he would like to publicize the decline in attacks in order to encourage more Jews to visit, and to express gratitude to security forces, “which are doing much more today than in the past.”

However, he still has criticism of some government policies regarding the neighborhood. “The problem is the Prime Minister's Office,” he said. There is a law defining the Mount of Olives as a national heritage site, he explained, “But unfortunately, there are those who are holding it up for financial reasons, and the law is frozen instead of becoming a tool for effective enforcement in the area.”