Visiting the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron.
Tourists vsiting the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi
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Olivia Fitoussi
MK Michael Ben Ari, also recently tore up a holy book, the New Testament. Photo by Olivia Fitoussi

Police in Hebron are looking for two Jewish girls who ripped apart books of the Koran at the Tomb of the Patriarchs. A policeman who witnessed the act released the girls on the spot, and now the police are unable to track them down.

The event took place four months ago, during the week of the Passover festival. In keeping with the prayer arrangements in place at the Tomb of the Patriarchs ever since Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 Muslim worshipers there in 1994, the entire building is open for prayers by Jews 10 days a year and prayers by Muslims on 10 other days of the year. Whenever the Jewish prayers are scheduled, the Waqf (the Muslim religious trust that administers the site) prepares ahead of time by folding up the rugs and placing the Muslim prayer books to the side.

When the building was opened to Jewish worshipers at the start of Passover, the two teenage girls walked up to the pile of Korans in the Tomb and began ripping them apart. A blue-uniformed policeman who observed the incident approached them and demanded that they stop what they were doing. An argument ensued between the girls and the policeman, and the girls finally desisted, but the policeman failed to either arrest them or take down their information.

When the Hebron district police headquarters learned what had happened, it was decided to open an investigation and look for the girls, for the purpose of arresting them. Every square centimeter of the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron is filmed by security cameras, and the girls were identified in the closed-circuit footage. Nevertheless, the police have not yet succeeded in finding them.

A source in the Israel Police sharply criticized the conduct of the policeman at the time of the event, saying that “because of this kind of careless conduct that we are now chasing our own tails.”

A spokesman for the police’s Judea and Samaria District stated, “We’re not going to move on and forget that this crime happened. An investigation is under way.”

Read this article in Hebrew