Update: Arbitration Fails in Jerusalem's Museum of Tolerance Dispute

September 11, 2006

Source: Monterey Herald

Wire Service: AP


On September 11, 2006 the Associated Press reported, "Arbitration between Jewish and Arab groups over the building of a museum promoting religious tolerance on the site of an old Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem has failed, officials said Monday. The Los-Angeles based Simon Wiesenthal Center will petition Israel's Supreme Court to begin construction of the Museum of Tolerance on the site in Jerusalem's center after the seven-month arbitration failed, said the dean of the center, Rabbi Marvin Hier. The matter has pitted the center, which is funded largely by American Jews, against two Arab groups over whether or not the $200 million museum should be built on the site of the Muslim cemetery in downtown Jerusalem. Much of the dispute focuses on the history of the land. The Arab groups say the plot was the site of a place of burial for prominent Muslims until Israel was established after the 1948 Middle East war. The center says the land, where a parking lot four floors deep is located, has not been designated a Muslim cemetery for more than 30 years by the Israeli government or Jerusalem municipality, which gave the land to the center. The center had offered to move the bones to a nearby, neglected Muslim cemetery and renovate it, Hier said, but the Arab groups were unwilling to compromise."