The Knesset Interior Committee last week held a heated discussion over what committee head MK Miri Regev (Likud) called the "mortal danger" posed to Jews who visit Jerusalem's Mount of Olives.
The Mount of Olives is home to one of the oldest and certainly the most important Jewish cemetery in the city. Four biblical prophets and a great many of modern Israel's leading figures are buried there. The cemetery's location just opposite the Temple Mount makes it a sought after final resting place for many Jews.
The downside is that to access the cemetery requires driving through several Arab neighborhoods, and of late many Jews who risk passage through the area have been attacked with apparent impunity.
In October alone, Jewish visitors to the area were attacked no fewer than 24 times by Arab assailants.
"I’m afraid today to go to the Mount of Olives," said Regev. "When you travel there you find yourself in mortal danger."
Other committee members demanded amendments to laws guaranteeing freedom of movement in all of Jerusalem, and an increased police presence on the Mount of Olives.
Police representative Micky Rosenfeld said most of the attacks are carried out by Arab youth from nearby schools. Israel has long had a problem curbing Arab youth violence against Jews. Reluctant to arrest and unable to adequately punish the youths itself, Israel has tried turning to the parents, most of whom seem unwilling to dissuade their children from engaging in such activities.
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