Protecting a holy site


The Mount of Olives was already consecrated as a grave site for Jerusalem’s Jews in pre-First Temple days 3,000 years ago. It still serves that purpose.

The only break was during the 19 years of Jordanian rule between 1948 and 1967.

Not only were Jews barred entry then (in brazen contravention of armistice treaty obligations), but ancient, irreplaceable tombstones were ripped out and used for the construction of roads, army barracks and – underscoring the intent to defile, desecrate and humiliate – as walls and floors of public latrines.

The Jewish return to an indisputably Jewish site – the final resting place for a veritable pantheon of spiritual, cultural and national paragons – is what world opinion and the Arabs now deem as “occupation.”

But the Jewish state must not subscribe to inimical distortion.

Mourners should not fear for their lives at any cemetery anywhere in Israel, but all the more so at the oldest continuously used burial ground on earth.


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