The destruction at the scene
The destruction at the scene Oholei Tzadikim

On a recent visit to the ancient Jewish cemetery in Izmir, Turkey, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Gabbai, the head of the Oholei Tzaddikim organization that works to identify and protect Jewish cemeteries and individual graves in Israel and throughout the world, was alarmed to see many gravestones smashed and destruction throughout the entire area.

Rabbi Gabbai’s visit was made in honor of the yahrtzeit of Rabbi Chaim Palagi, one of the greatest Torah leaders of Turkey, who is buried in the cemetery in Izmir.

He noted that Muslims are in charge of protecting and maintaining the site, but also appealed to the local Jewish community to take matters into its hands.

“The Izmir cemetery has been terribly neglected, and we are requesting of the Jewish community of Izmir that they address this problem, given that there are now dozens of gravestones here that have been smashed, with fragments of broken stone all over the place,” he said.

“The Oholei Tzadikim organization is prepared to take upon itself a portion of the efforts to renovate the cemetery along with two other Jewish cemeteries in the area, all of which are in urgent need of being cleaned up and restored.”

Rabbi Gabbai added that, “According to the Muslim watchman, there is a natural stream that flows from beneath the gravestone of Rabbi Chaim Palagi, right in the cemetery.”