France reopens contested Jewish tomb in east Jerusalem
Associated Press
2019-11-08 14:30:43
France reopens contested Jewish tomb in east Jerusalem

In this Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019 photo, ultra-Orthodox Jews pray in the Tomb of the Kings, a large underground burial complex dating to the first century BC, in east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. After several aborted attempts, the French Consulate General has reopened one of Jerusalem’s most magnificent ancient tombs to the public for the first time in over a decade, sparking a distinctly Jerusalem conflict over access to an archaeological-cum-holy site in the volatile city’s eastern half. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

JERUSALEM — France has reopened a contested Jewish tomb in east Jerusalem after several aborted attempts.

The French Consulate General reopened the Tomb of the Kings – one of Jerusalem’s most magnificent ancient tombs – to the public last month, for the first time in over a decade.

Tensions between French authorities and Israeli nationalists and ultra-Orthodox Jews who seek open worship at the first century BC tomb and challenge France’s ownership continue to make day to day operations problematic at the site.

Since its closure in 2009, ultra-Orthodox Jews and religious nationalists have staged sometimes violent protests outside the tomb’s gates, calling for it to be opened. On top of that, Israeli religious groups have sought to strip France’s ownership in court. /kga

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