Avrohom Lubinsky, who took the initiative to form the committee after reading the State Comptroller’s Report on the Israel government’s “benign neglect” of the Mt. Olives said that Har Hazeisim had turned into a Palestinian “playground, dumping area, and outright site of destruction.” Peretz Levin, a Vice President of Goldman-Sachs and a member of the committee spent five days on Har Hazeisim and took more than five hours of shocking and disturbing video.
Levin reported that there was no area of Har Hazeisim that was spared the wanton destruction, filth, and abuse. He said that neighboring Palestinians use the cemetery roads as a shortcut and on evenings parade their donkeys through the area. “I witnessed Palestinians walking on graves as if it were a pedestrian mall,” he said. His heart-wrenching video confirms the findings of State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss that Har Hazeisim has all but been abandoned by the Israeli government. Lubinsky met with officials in the Prime Minister’s office to lodge a strong protest at the government’s turning a blind eye to the systematic destruction of Har Hazeisim.
Last month, Lubinsky’s brother Menachem and Malcolm Hoenlein, Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents, who are members of the Committee, met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara. The two were visibly shaken at the reports of the desecration and destruction. Ironically, many Israeli government leaders and Knesset members seem unaware at the condition of Har Hazeisim.
Levin’s video shows graves that were recently deliberately destroyed by Palestinians living in nearby villages and in the cemetery. He found a fully functioning soccer field on Har Hazeisim with the goal posts being broken fragments of graves. He also found at least one dead animal between the graves, roving dogs, drug paraphernalia, and garbage strewn everywhere. Many of the Committee participants reported being victim to stones being hurled at them by youngsters and at least one participant had a Molotov cocktail thrown at his car. The deteriorating state of Mt. of Olives was called a “national disgrace” as the cemetery is neglected, Palestinians roaming freely between the graves, construction material being strewn about by Palestinian workers building illegal structures nearby, and even a gazebo with couches and refreshments for relaxation. At the burial site of the Rachmovstrivka Rebbe Levin found used water pipes and piles of refuse were everywhere.