"The Arab vandals realize how important history is to the Jews, therefore they strike out against these sensitive sites," said Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, speaking before the Knesset Aliya and Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee on the problem of grave desecration at Har Hazeisim, and increased security for Diaspora Jews visiting the ancient cemetery.
"This is a test for us: Will we uphold the heritage and our past or not?" he challenged.
Hoenlein himself was attacked by Arabs last Friday while visiting the site, and he says security arrangements for Jews in their capital city are inadequate.
Steve Goldberg, an American citizen who has taken an active role in safeguarding the cemetery and was also attacked there, was irate that "Israeli officials are afraid to anger the Arabs. Throwing rocks should be considered attempted murder."
Elad Kandel, project manager for the Old City area at the Jerusalem Development Authority, reported that many arrests have been made recently, and that there has been a significant drop in the level of vandalism. He says NIS 90 million was recently invested and 97 cameras went into operation. "Many resources have been invested, and the more time goes by the more improvement can be seen."