Arson suspected in blaze that damages ancient Jerusalem site

The Tomb of Absalom and the Cave of Jehoshaphat, situated in the Kidron Valley to the east of Jerusalem’s Old City walls, were apparently attacked by arsonists and suffered severe damage.

A Second Temple-era archeological site in Jerusalem’s Old City was damaged by fire over the weekend and Israeli authorities think the fire was an act of arson, Israel’s Ynet news reported Sunday.

The Tomb of Absalom and the Cave of Jehoshaphat, which were hit by the fire, are ancient burial complexes that are attributed to the Jewish aristocracy from the late Second Temple period, and are considered to represent architectural wonders.

“The findings point to an arson, which unfortunately caused severe damage to valuable heritage values and archeological jewels,” said Assaf Avraham, director of the national park under the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. “The national park has many visitors but is also, to our regret, often fertile ground for acts of vandalism carried out by lawbreakers.”

A Jewish cemetery in the nearby Mount of Olives has been the repeated target of Arab arson.

By: World Israel News Staff