"In the history books about King Herod, it is written that, at the time, he and his soldiers tried to enter the tombs of King David and a heavenly fire consumed them. How is it that there is no protest? This is a scandal and a disgrace to dig among the tombs of the Davidic kings. There is a hidden hand here that is trying to hide it all - maybe someone is trying to win favors with the Christians."
Above: Inside King David's purported tomb
Rabbis Again Claim King David’s Tomb Threatened By Government, Say Temple Artifacts And Davidic Kings’ Graves In Danger
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
The purported tomb is located on Mount Zion just outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, essentially underneath the purported site of the Last Supper held by Jesus and his disciples.
Primarily led by fringe haredi rabbis from the Beslov hasidic sect, the campaign against the alleged desecration has included harassing Christian pilgrims and disrupting their prayers, rioting, and threatening tour groups which contain “immodestly” dressed women.
The purported tomb itself has no real Jewish pedigree and only came to be associated with David in the 12th century CE – more than 2,000 years after David, if he ever really lived, passed away.
800 years before the first association with David the site was already known as the location of the Last Supper and as the original meeting place of early Christians. Even more telling, the purported Tomb of David is located in a corner of the ground floor of the remains of Hagia Sion, an early Byzantine church. The Hagia Maria Sion Abbey still stands nearby and is in use as an abbey today.
The site only gained real Jewish significance in 1948 after Jewish access to the Old City and the (Kotel) Western Wall was cut off by Jordan. Mount Zion was the closed Jews could get to the Kotel and King David's purported tomb became a regular prayer location for the pious.
After the 1967 Six Day War when Israel regained the Old City and Kotel, King David's Tomb fell out of use and out of favor, and soon the Government of Israel gave most of the purported tomb building to the the Diaspora Yeshiva, a kiruv (missionary outreach) yeshiva geared primarily for Westerners.
Now two of the fringe rabbis leading the “anti-desecration” movement, Yosef Berger and Aharon Yitzhak Stern, have asked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to stop what they claim is desecration of other graves located near King David’s purported Tomb, Arutz Sheva reported.
Archaeological digs are being carried out on Mount Zion by Israel’s Antiquities Authority in cooperation with the Greek Orthodox Church. Those digs are likely to damage King David's tomb and destroy treasures from the Temple, the two rabbis claim.
Berger told Arutz Sheva that anyone who has ever tried to enter the tombs of King David's family was punished for doing it.
"In the history books about King Herod, it is written that, at the time, he and his soldiers tried to enter the tombs of King David and a heavenly fire consumed them. How is it that there is no protest? This is a scandal and a disgrace to dig among the tombs of the Davidic kings. There is a hidden hand here that is trying to hide it all - maybe someone is trying to win favors with the Christians,” Berger said.
"It is our duty at this time to protest the blasphemy and sacrilege that is shaking the land and those in it,” Berger continued. “We must stop this terrible disgrace! I have also appealed to all the haredi members of Knesset, since here are buried all of the Davidic kings, particularly King David. It is a terrible danger. We tried to enter and see what they [the archeologists] are doing but they didn't allow us. They forced us out."
The reality is that graves were routinely looted throughout antiquity and there is no actual historical record of any heavenly fire coming down and burning Herod’s soldiers or anyone else who looted them.
The Antiquities Authority excavates ancient sites, including graves, and learns what it can from those digs and then preserves the sites, sometimes by sealing them in concrete, other times by opening them for limited tours, and sometimes when the sites are remote, sealing the entrance.
The choice of how sites are handled is made primarily based on their significance and their location. Graves found in the path of planned highways often cause the state to redirect the highway around them or build an overpass. Graves found in the middle of a planned residential area may be sealed and the buildings built over them on large concrete posts so the graves are not part of the buildings according to halakha (Orthodox Jewish law).
Very significant sites – the grave of a king or prophet, for example – would be preserved, and in most cases an onsite museum or visitors’ center would be constructed, along with a small synagogue.
Berger previously falsely claimed Israel had agreed to give David’s Tomb to the Vatican in exchange for full Vatican recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.