web analytics
October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Things Are Happening On The Mount Of Olives


Jerusalem-012012

In a city of Jewish symbols, the Mount of Olives is perhaps the most symbolic of all: With a theatrical view of the Temple Mount and the Old City, it was the last stop for the Divine Spirit before the destruction of the First Beit HaMikdash and will be its first stop when Mashiach arrives. During Holy Temple times, the Red Heifer was burned here for Israel’s purification, it was the last station for Jews visiting Jerusalem three times a year, and it was a decisive battle site during the Romans’ capture of Jerusalem 1,900 years ago.

Today, it is the oldest, largest, and most important cemetery in the Jewish world, with an estimated 135,000 Jewish graves. Among the Jews buried there are the prophets Zechariah, Haggai, and Malachi; King David’s son Avshalom; Middle Ages Torah giants Rav Ovadiah of Bartenura and the Ohr HaChaim; Rabbis Avraham Yitzchak Kook, Tzvi Yehuda Kook, Shlomo Goren, and Yisrael Alter; the Sadigora, Gur, and Nadborna Rebbes; and Zionist leaders and figures such as Uri Tzvi Greenberg, Shmuel Yosef Agnon, Eliezer Ben Yehuda, Henrietta Szold, and Menachem Begin.

Unbelievably, during the 19-year Jordanian occupation, nearly half the graves on the Mt. of Olives were vandalized and destroyed – proof that leaving holy sites under Arab control is not quite advisable. Arab vandalism continues even today, decades after Israel liberated the area in the Six-Day War, and many Jews still consider it an unsafe place to visit.

But this is now beginning to change. For one thing, renovation of the destroyed graves and headstones is underway, sponsored in part by official city bodies. Some 15,000 graves or stones have been painstakingly restored – leaving the shocking number of 50,000 or more still to go.

In addition, the City of David organization has established an online mapping system of the myriads of Mt. of Olives gravesites. The project has been described as being of “national and historic importance,” containing information on the location and accessibility of the graves, and of course the names of those buried there. The program is easily downloadable onto home computers, at no charge (www.mountofolives.co.il/map.aspx?CID=293).

Yet another Mt. of Olives program currently underway is the initiative of Jerusalem lands activist Aryeh King, founder of the Israel Land Fund. He is featured on a recent Jewish Press.com video explaining that “for the first time in over 70 years, Jews have returned to this plot of Mt. of Olives land – purchased by Jews, yet forgotten by their descendants – and we are now planting olive trees.… We are not living here yet, but we are working the land – and with God’s help, in four years [after the trees lose their orlah status] we will be able to enjoy their pure olive oil.”

Possibly the most important of the new Mt. of Olives initiatives is the formation of the International Committee for the Preservation of Har HaZeitim (Mt. of Olives). It was founded just over a year ago by Avrohom Lubinsky, a “simple Jew” from Brooklyn who visited his parents’ burial site one day and saw that the nearby graves had been smashed and ruined. The organization aims to put a stop to ongoing Arab desecration of graves by buttressing the slowly improving police efforts to this end.

Due to pressure by the committee, some 80 cameras have been placed around the cemetery, and another 67 are planned, as well as six heat sensors for nighttime supervision. A typical success occurred in November, when an Arab throwing bricks at graves and shattering headstones was apprehended within minutes by private security guards and handed over to the police. Sentenced to three months in prison, he related that he had been paid 1,000 shekels to perpetrate the attack.

The committee truly lives up to its name, having involved high levels of the U.S. State Department in its efforts. Leading member Jeff Daube, director of the Israel Office of the Zionist Organization of America, has met with U.S. Consulate officials in Jerusalem and with State Department representatives in Washington, leading to a mild condemnation of Arab vandalism on the holy site.

The committee has also been working hard to stop the expansion of a large mosque adjacent to the Jewish cemetery – but this is a topic for a future article.

It goes without saying that continued control of the Mt. of Olives is an absolute imperative in the framework of the Jewish people’s campaign to retain a united Yerushalayim under Israeli sovereignty. Israeli governments that consented in the past to “negotiate” arrangements in the holy city with the PA rejected its demand to transfer the Mt. of Olives to PA sovereignty and control – but were prepared to agree to the transfer of neighborhoods that control the access routes to the mount.

“Should any such agreement be implemented in the future,” writes Jerusalem historian Nadav Shragai, “it could endanger freedom of access to [Mt. of Olives] and continued Jewish burial there.”

About the Author: Chaim Silberstein is president of Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech and the Jerusalem Capital Development Fund. He was formerly a senior adviser to Israel's minister of tourism. Hillel Fendel, past senior editor at Israel National News/Arutz-7, is a veteran writer on Jerusalem affairs. Both have lived in Jerusalem and now live in Beit El.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Things Are Happening On The Mount Of Olives”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
B'Tselem ran a campaign this summer attacking Israel for its actions when searching for the missing Israeli teenagers. They called the campaign, "Hitching a Ride."
Israeli AG: Anti-Israel NGO Can Utilize National Service Volunteers
Latest Indepth Stories
terrorists

Is the global community clear in its response to these extremist groups?

obama

Like our fabled character, Don Quixote, President Obama has constantly spawned his own reality.

Ayatollah Hossein-Kazamani Boroujerdi, in better times (left) and in his prison cell (right).

Boroujerdi was informed that “the pressures and tortures will increase until he has been destroyed.”

Senior Hamas and Fatah leaders in Gaza City on April 22. Hamas and Fatah signed a deal to establish a unity government, but since then little progress has been made.

Fatah: Hamas stole relief aid for Gaza and distributed it amongst its followers in mosques.

Can teenagers seriously be expected to behave properly when they are surrounded by so much suggestive material? Is it fair to expose them (and ourselves) to so much temptation and then tell them, “Just say no”?

Washington remains ignorant of the need to dismantle alliances with various Muslim countries.

Defeating IS requires bombing its strongholds and recognizing the violent nature of Islam.

Abbas again used the UN to attack Israel, distort history, and undermine prospects for peace.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority cannot even agree to move their clocks back on the same day.

Shemita is about relating to each other by temporarily eliminating gaps of wealth power & status

David transcended adversity to become a leader; Who are we to make excuses for a lack of greatness?

sympathy: Feeling sorrow or pity for another’s tribulations; Empathy:sharing an emotional experience

Last week the president announced a four-point plan. Unfortunately, there’s little buy-in from our European and Middle Eastern allies. Here’s my own four-point plan that may be more palatable to our allies.

Rosh Hashanah has an obvious connection to God’s Kingship. We constantly refer to Him during the Asseres Yemei Teshuvah as Melech/King. The nusach of the tefillah, referring to Rosh Hashanah as “a remembrance of the first day” (of Creation), implies a certain dimension of divine kingship operating at the time of Creation and replicated every […]

Yes, God judges, but His judgment is that of a loving father who longs for his child’s quick return.

Anti-Semitism has returned to the mainstream of European society and Israel has become its focus.

More Articles from Hillel Fendel and Chaim Silberstein / KeepJerusalem.org
Keeping-Jerusalem

How many illegal Arab structures are there in the city? Why are they not being destroyed?

Keeping-Jerusalem

“This arbitrary ban is an ugly stain on our democracy, and it also undermines the rule of law.”

Arab mother: “Life is zero, life is worthless. That is why we have all the suicide bombers;”

Our capital was not arbitrarily chosen, as capitals of some other nations were.

Jerusalem: The historic and spiritual capital of the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

It is critical to note the solid legal basis for the position that no part of Jerusalem is actually “occupied.”

Jerusalem: extraordinary financial and building growth and satisfaction by both Jewish and Arab residents.

Arab attacks on Jews must be stopped and Jewish construction in Jerusalem must proceed without hindrance.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/keeping-jerusalem/things-are-happening-on-the-mount-of-olives/2012/01/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: