“We were shaken by the news that an American woman who travelled to bury her father on Har Hazeisim could not participate due to a vicious attack by Arab hoodlums,” was the essence of a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from the International Committee for the Preservation of Har Hazeisim. The incident took place on Friday, Chol Hamoed Pesach, as Tova Richler , an American citizen from West Hempstead NY, travelled to Yerushalayim to participate in her father’s levaya. As her car which included her sister and a number of other relatives approached the Ras al Amud Square, just outside of Har Hazeisim, a group of 10 hooded Arabs viciously attacked their vehicle, totally shattering all the windows and leaving Mrs. Richler in a state of shock. She was subsequently transferred to the hospital but because of the lateness of the hour before Shabbos, the Chevra Kadisha had no choice but to proceed with the burial without her.
“Despite several attempts at improving security and numerous promises at the highest levels of government, the police have not kept their promise to secure visitors and mourners to Har Hazeisim,” the letter continued. The letter noted: “We know that the Israeli police have the means to secure the 3000 year old cemetery but apparently they do not have the will.” It ended with a personal appeal to the Prime Minister: “We appeal to you to personally intervene and to order the Israeli Police to use all means at its disposal to change the situation on Har Hazeisim.”
According to Avrohom Lubinsky, Chairman of the ICPHH, the Richler incident is one of a number of violent episodes that have plagued the area in recent weeks. He said that he believed that the uptick in violence is politically motivated without an adequate response from Israeli law enforcement or the government.
Mr. Lubinsky said that he was planning to bring the case of Har Hazeisim to the highest level of government and the Knesset during a visit to Yerushalayim at the end of May. “The government will have to understand that every Jew, irrespective of where he lives, is concerned with the future of Har Hazeism,” he added.
The Committee has launched an urgent effort to secure Har Hazeisim and to proceed with a number of development projects.