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Thursday, October 24, 2019 

Why the French-managed Tomb of the Kings was temporarily closed

The Tomb of the Kings, which is overseen by the French consulate in Jerusalem, was reopened to tourists after some Haredi screwballs caused a ruckus a few months ago that saw its closure to visitors:
An ancient tomb in Jerusalem prized for its archaeological and religious importance was reopened for visits Thursday by France, which owns it, after a dispute over access scuttled an earlier attempt.

The site known as the Tomb of the Kings in East Jerusalem can now be visited during set hours twice per week, but visitors must pre-register online and pay a NIS 10 fee ($3, €2.50), the French consulate said.

Around 30 people — the most allowed at one time due to the sensitivity of the site — visited when the gates opened on Thursday morning, mainly ultra-Orthodox Jews who wanted to pray inside.

Around a dozen other ultra-Orthodox danced and prayed outside the gates while they waited for their turn to visit the 2,000-year-old tomb as police kept a close eye.

“This is a special event,” said Yehuda Twerski, a 20-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jew from New York studying religion in Jerusalem.

“We’re going in there to pray. Perhaps with proper negotiations maybe it will be open more often to the public.”

Ultra-Orthodox Jews describe the tomb as a holy burial site of ancient Jewish kings.

France had attempted to open the site to visitors in June after having kept it closed since 2010, initially due to renovations but later because attempts to contest its ownership complicated its reopening.

It however immediately re-closed the site after a group of more than a dozen ultra-Orthodox tried to enter and pray, shoving toward the gate, despite not having signed up as requested.
So a bunch of Haredis acted like dummies, not taking responsibility, and the staff felt they'd have to shut it again. If those clannists are smart, they'll register and make all proper arrangements from here on, if the site is really important to them.

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