The Wiesenthal Center's project has been approved by the government and the courts, and will be built on property that is not a cemetery but a parking lot.
12 February '10
Listening to the few vocal opponents of our Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem project -- among them the notorious Sheik Raed Salah, leader of the extremist Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel -- you would never know that the Israeli Supreme Court deliberated for almost three years before unanimously rejecting all their claims and authorizing the Wiesenthal Center to begin construction. Just six weeks ago, Chief Justice Dorit Beinish also rebuked those who re-petitioned the Supreme Court for an "abuse of court proceedings," ordering them to pay professional costs.
Still, our opponents would have you believe that in the name of tolerance, our bulldozers actually have invaded the adjacent Mamilla Cemetery, desecrating ancient Muslim tombstones and historic markers.
They don't want you to know the real facts. The museum is not being built on what can rightfully be called the Mamilla Cemetery, but on a three-acre site in the heart of West Jerusalem that, for more than half a century, served as the city's municipal car park. Each day, hundreds of people of all faiths parked in the three-level underground structure without any protest from Muslim religious or academic leaders or interest groups. Additionally, telephone and electrical cables and sewer lines were laid deep below ground in the early 1960s, again without any protest.
As the Supreme Court noted in its ruling, "for almost 50 years the compound has not been a part of the cemetery, both in the normative sense and in the practical sense, and it was used for various public purposes." It also noted: "During all those years no one raised any claim, on even one occasion, that the planning procedures violated the sanctity of the site, or that they were contrary to the law as a result of the historical and religious uniqueness of the site. . . . For decades this area was not regarded as a cemetery by the general public or by the Muslim community. . . . No one denied this position."
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