Arsonists Target Ancient Jewish Sites Absalom’s Tomb and Cave of Jehoshaphat

“And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went, thus he said: ‘O my son Avshalom, my son, my son Avshalom! would I had died for thee, O Avshalom, my son, my son!’” II Samuel 19:1 (The Israel Bible™)

By: Ilana Messika

The Israeli authorities reported an arson on the weekend of November 12, in the area of the “Tomb of Absalom” and the “Cave of Jehoshaphat,” situated in the Kidron Valley on the eastern side of the Old City separating the Temple Mount from the Mount of Olives.

The Tomb of Absalom was damaged by fire. (Israel Nature and Parks Authority)
The Tomb of Absalom was damaged by fire. (Israel Nature and Parks Authority)

The fire is said to have caused serious archaeological damages.

The burial complexes in the Kidron Valley are attributed to the Jewish aristocracy of the late Second Temple period and are considered to represent architectural wonders.  The national park around the walls of Jerusalem surrounds the Old City, which represents the historical heart of Jerusalem.

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According to Assaf Avraham, director of the national park under the Israel Nature and Parks Authority: “the findings point to an arson which unfortunately caused severe damage to valuable heritage and archaeological jewels.

“The national park has many visitors but is also, to our regrets, often fertile ground for acts of vandalism carried out by breakers of the law.”

The Israeli Police and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority launched an intensive investigation into the case and preliminary finding seem to indicate arson of a deliberate and criminal nature. Both bodies are attempting to find the people responsible in order to bring them to justice.