France reopens contested Jewish tomb in east Jerusalem

Ultra-Orthodox Jews wait among other visitors to enter the Tombs of the Kings. (Photo by MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP)

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 in the first century BC tomb and challenge France's ownership to 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. 

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