Two US congressman were attacked by rock-throwers on Friday in front of a mosque in the Ras Al-Amud neighborhood of Jerusalem. Congressmen Eliot Engel and Jerrold Nadler from New York State were on a tour of the Mount of Olives Cemetery, along with Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Malcolm Hoenlein, and Rabbis Abraham and Menachem Lubinsky, founders of the International Committee for the Preservation of Har HaZeitim. Their tour, which included some 40 Jewish American leaders, was guided by JewishPress.com Managing Editor Yishai Fleisher.
Earlier, following Friday prayers, hundreds of worshipers hurled rocks at the Mughrabi Bridge entrance to the Temple Mount, and dozens gathered inside the Al-Aqsa mosque. Israeli police forces entered the plaza and attempted to stop the violent protest. Several policemen were injured.
Jerusalem District chief Nisso Shaham blamed the ongoing Friday riots on a poster announcing a Temple Mount visit by Likud member Moshe Feiglin, which was originally scheduled for ten days ago. The poster itself was a fake.
Muslim leaders have been actively inciting their followers over the past month to “protect Al-Asqa”.
Prior to the attack, Hoenlein announced the launching of a campaign to “retake the Mount of Olives cemetery for the Jewish people.”
The oldest and largest Jewish cemetery in the world, the Mt. of Olives is subjected to non-stop violence against visitors, grave desecrations, an unlawful mosque expansion, illegal building – all part of a concerted Arab effort to assert control over the burial site used by Jews for 3,000 years.
The focused aim of the International Committee for the Preservation of Har Hazeitim (www.saveharhazeitim.org) is the sustained improvement of the current conditions at the Mount of Olives Cemetery. The ICPHH is driven to react to and ameliorate the rampant and systematic violence, destruction, and incitement taking place on the Mount of Olives, as well as the general, widespread neglect and the current illegal expansion of a mosque situated just meters away from the grave of Prime Minister Menachem Begin.
JewishPress.com’s Managing Editor Yishai Fleisher, who led the tour, lives with his wife and children in the community of Maale HaZetim on the Mount of Olives, a few steps away from where the attack took place.
Fleisher said, “The attack the congressmen faced is part of the day-in day-out reality of Jewish communities who live in proximity to the ancient Jewish cemetery at the Mount of Olives and that is what we need to fight. However, when people ask me whether we are scared to live here, I tell them that while there is danger, it does not have to translate into fear. The enemies of Jewish rights in Jerusalem use terror as a tactic to keep us away. But we will not bow to the bullying. One day soon, Maale HaZeitim will be a quiet, gentrified, normal Jerusalem neighborhood.”
On Saturday night there will be an emergency meeting to save Har HaZeitim. Details can be found here.