web analytics
March 30, 2015 / 10 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


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 reside 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.

Current Top Story
Former Iranian President Ahmadinejad and north Korean  nuclear test.
Lausanne Talks May Be Camouflage for Iranian Nukes in North Korea
Latest Indepth Stories
jabotinsky with sword

Jabotinsky said “Go To Hell” was a good retort to opponents of the Jewish people; fitting for Obama.

Obama Racine

Obama pulled off one of US history’s greatest cons,twice fooling a gullible electorate and most Jews

Auschwitz Entrance

While in Auschwitz I felt a tangible intensity. I could sense that I was in a place of sheer evil.

Bibi and Obama: Head to Head

Obama needs to wake up. The real enemy is not Netanyahu but Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad,IS

My beliefs & actions have led to numerous death threats against me; my excommunication by my church

In November 2014, Islamic Relief Worldwide was classified as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.

Too rarely appreciated for its symbolic weight; it can represent freedom and independence.

Erica Pelman is a spiritually-driven woman. She is founder and director of “In Shifra’s Arms” (ISA), an organization that offers aid to pregnant Jewish women of all religious backgrounds practically, financially and emotionally. Its arms are open to any pregnant woman in need whether single, divorced, separated, or from a financially-strapped family. “Presently, we are […]

Many so-called “humanitarian NGOs” frequently abuse Israel by applying false moral equivalencies

Israeli history now has its version of “Dewey Defeats Truman” with headlines from 2 anti-Bibi papers

In God’s plan why was it necessary that Moses be raised by Pharaoh, away from his own family&people?

In their zechus may we all come to appreciate that life is a fleeting gift and resolve to spend every precious moment of it as if it were the last.

In any event, Mr. Netanyahu after the election sought to soften his statement on Palestinian statehood and apologized for what he conceded were remarks that “offended some Israeli citizens and offended members of the Israeli Arab community.”

A worthy idea any way you look at it.

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

All Zionist parties must demonstrate that a united Jewish Yerushalayim is an absolute imperative

Keeping-Jerusalem

Israel’s full sovereignty over a united Jerusalem is the only path for true peace in the region.

Despite its name, the Muslim Quarter was home to many Jews and 6 yeshivot in the 19th century

A unified Jerusalem’s most threatened by a leading Prime Minister candidate: Labor’s Yitzchak Herzog

As Israel slowly loses its grip on parts of its capital, the Arabs are working to fill the vacuum.

The EU wants to replace the US with an increased role for the UN and its built-in anti-Israel stance

Police play down Arab terrorism as mere “violence” until the truth can no longer be hidden.

Rav Goren: “At the request of the Jews, Omar built the Dome of the Rock as a Jewish house of prayer”

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: