Mount of Olives
Mount of Olives Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel has filed a complaint with the Jerusalem District Police regarding recent violent attacks towards Jews on the Mount of Olives.

In a letter written on October 3, Legal Forum attorney Hila Cohen told Jerusalem District Police Commander Aharon Franco of some of the recent attacks on Jews in the Mount of Olives area. These include a stoning incident in June, two separate attacks on Jewish vehicles, as well as the stabbing of an Israeli who came to take part in a funeral at the large cemetery on the mountain, all on September 22.

Another attack mentioned in the letter is the near murder of Meir Indor on Hoshana Raba. Indor was attacked and wounded by Jerusalem Arabs as he and his wife were driving back from an all-night Torah study session at a Jewish neighborhood at the Mount of Olives. They were attacked by metal rods, cinder blocks and rocks. What makes this particular attack even more disturbing is that fact that children from the adjacent Al Tur school, which is administered by the Israeli Ministry of Education, took part in it.

In her letter Cohen stated that Jerusalem’s citizens do not believe that the Jerusalem Police Force is doing enough to protect the safety of Jews coming to the cemetery or traveling in the vicinity of the Mount of Olives.

Cohen quoted the conclusions of the members of the Knesset Interior Committee who visited the site in June. In their conclusions they said that there are too many organizations responsible for the site, and that it would operate more effectively if there was one central authority in charge, particularly since the Arab goal is to damage the cemetery and prevent Jewish burial on the mountain.

The Mount of Olives, with about 150,000 graves, is an ancient historic as well as modern burial place for Jews from all over the world as it faces the Old City and the site of the Holy Temple..  Between 1948 and 1967, when  Jordan occupied the area, close to 40,000 gravestones were desecrated and used for paving roads and building latrines. In recent years, Bnai Akiva youth, using records kept by the Jewish communities of Jerusalem, restored many of the older stones. At the same time, new burial areas were made available on the slopes of the mountain, which is the final resting places of famous Rabbis such as the Orach Chayim and the Ben Ish Chai, Rav Avraham Kook and Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook, Rav Avraham Shapira, Chassidic luminaries and other figures such as Shmuel Yossef Agnon, Aliza and Menachem Begin.

"In view of the harsh reality apparent to all, the Police Force must change its attitude concerning  Har HaZeitim [the Mount of Olives,ed.] and its surroundings, and must take decisive action to catch the perpetrators and maintain the security of Jerusalem residents," said Cohen.

Cohen also wrote a separate letter to Minister of Education Gideon Sa'ar, in which she addressed the violence perpetrated by Arab pupils within the Israeli public school system, as was the case in the attack on Indor.

Cohen raises a number of questions in the letter, regarding the content of the textbooks used by the school, whether teachers and school staff members were involved in attacks on Israelis, and whether the school supports or tolerates participation in such activity. PA textbooks are riddled with anti Israeli incitement and it is possible that they are being used at the school.

"One of the goals of the Israeli public school system is to develop respect for human rights, basic freedoms, democratic values, keeping the law, respect for the culture and views of others, and to educate to seek for peace and tolerance between individuals and nations," said Cohen in the letter to Sa’ar, adding that if the Abu Tor school is connected to the attack on Indor, it is clearly not fulfilling one of the aims of the school system to which it belongs. She requests that Minister Sa'ar investigate the incident, as well as the educational program and the ideological attitudes of the teachers at the Abu Tor school.