Arabs have turned a 2,000-year-old burial cave, located next to the town of Neve Daniel in Gush Etzion, into a water cistern, the Shomrim Al Hanetzach‎ (Guardians of Eternity) organization has exposed, in what they say is a blatant disrespect of the dead.

The cave, which was left untouched for centuries, was sealed by the Arabs with cement on one side and is now being used to collect and store water for the summer.


The complex of burial caves in the area is part of an ancient community and there are other open burial caves in the area.

Gush Etzion was home to a huge settlement or several adjacent towns that existed in succession, apparently from the First Temple era to the Byzantine period. The caves were used during several of the periods.

Local authorities are aware of the vandalism but have taken no action, a representative of Shomrim Al Hanetzach‎ said.

Antiquities theft and destruction of archaeological treasures by Arabs throughout Judea and Samaria is rampant and has become nearly commonplace in recent years.

Israel has about 40,000 sites that are defined as antiques and archaeological sites, 10,000 of which are located in Judea and Samaria.

This phenomenon of antiquity destruction is pervasive and affects all sites that are not under permanent preservation, and a survey of the sites in Judea and Samaria shows that a staggering 95% of the archaeological sites have been robbed, vandalized or disturbed.

Ironically, most of the new archaeological sites discovered in recent years are ones that have been uncovered by thieves for the purpose of looting them. Some of the sites are robbed by the locals, and others by professional teams.

The Shomrim Al Hanetzach‎ organization is dedicated to fighting this phenomenon and serves as an umbrella organization for several bodies, local authorities and organizations who work to protect antiquities in Israel, and especially in Judea and Samaria.

“There is no limit to the insolence,” Shomrim Al Hanetzach‎ told TPS.

“The dead don’t care about politics and land status. History has its own honor and value, unrelated to Judea and Samaria,” the organization stressed.

Shomrim Al Hanetzach‎ called on “all relevant factors to unite forces and lead a significant change in all issues pertaining to our history and heritage. It’s time to make a change.”


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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.