Leading public figures from the Israeli Board for the Protection of Har Hazeitim (Mount of Olives -ed.), including former ministers Efi Eitam and Rabbi Yitzchak Cohen, have emphasized how essential it is that Israel strengthen its sovereignty at the site.
The new Board was created on the initiative of the International Committee for Har Hazeitim (ICHH) founded over ten years ago by two brothers Abe and Menachem Lubinsky. ICHH has initiated major improvements on the Mountain, and was instrumental in persuading the government to conduct major renovations, including fixing roads, building fences and installing 170 security cameras.
ICHH works in full cooperation with the large Knesset Lobby for Har Hazeitim, and is in constant dialogue with the police to ensure the safety of all those who ascend the Mountain.
Shalom Lerner ,executive director of ICHH, reached out to active public leaders in Israel, asking them to join the efforts to preserve and upgrade the site.
Prominent and notable individuals from all walks of life have come together to work for the security and development of this holy mountain.
One of the challenges facing the new committee is the Visitors Center, which is planned for the lower part of the mountain.
The Visitors Center is a 20 million shekel ($6,199,130) project jointly undertaken by the Israeli government, Jerusalem Municipality and the ICHH, and it has obtained almost all the permits required in order for construction to begin. The Center will also run a major educational program and it is expected to draw thousands of visitors daily, making it a major development in the upgrading of the Mount of Olives and ensuring its continued viability for generations to come. Some experts estimate that the Visitors Centre will draw close to two million visitors annually.
In its first meeting, former minister Rabbi Cohen stressed the importance that all functions of the Visitors Center should be professionally planned and implemented, and promised full cooperation with its partners.
Former minister Brigadier General Efi Eitam, pointed out the importance of the educational content of the Center, with emphasis on the unbreakable bond between the Jewish People all over the Diaspora and Har Hazeitim and Jerusalem. From the times of the First Temple until today, many Jews from all over the world dreamed of being buried on Har HaZeitim, where according to tradition, the resurrection of the dead will start.
Gael Grinwald, Deputy Chairman of the World Zionist Organization, pointed out that the Board should already make contact with the Education Ministry to ensure that schoolchildren and students visit the Visitors Center and fully benefit from unique educational programs.
Ilan Geal Dor, CEO of Gesher, and Shalom Wasserteil, a prominent contractor, suggested that a special program should be arranged for soldiers, in partnership with the IDF. The Executive Board of the ICHH, headed by Abe and Menachem Lubinsky, participated in the meeting via Zoom and were very appreciative that such notable persons have joined them in ensuring the future and the upgrading of Har HaZeitim.
Shalom Lerner announced that several new members will be joining the Israeli Board in the next few weeks, following which the Board will hold a festive meeting with the participation of its partners and donors.