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Apr 14, 2010

Developments in the Ashkelon graves issue

Developments since the Prime Minister's decision to build the Barzilai Emergency Room in its original location rather than the alternate location:

  • Graves in a Kibbutz were vandalized and damaged by Arabs from a neighboring village. The Chief Rabbis of Israel requested forgiveness of the dead, and also called upon Arab leaders to condemn the attacks and dishonor. As well, they openly questioned where those who fought for the honor of the dead in Ashkelon (Barzilai) are now that these graves have been harmed and called upon them to do what they can to protect the graves and the dead of Merhavia. (source: Srugim)
  • The Eida Haredis has announced their plans to send people out en masse to protest against the desecration of the graves in Ashkelon. They published a pashkevil to that effect. In addition, Ynet reports that the Eida committee met in Bet Shemesh (it seems the Eida's most violent and active members are the ones based in Bet Shemesh) to come up with a working plan for protesting and bringing out the people.
  • The "Haredi website" Kikar Shabbos has an editorial questioning the real motives of Yaakov Litzman and the Asra Kadisha. He asks if they are all so concerned about "kavod ha'meis" and that is all that is motivating them in Ashkelon, where were they when the graves of definite Jews in Gush Katif were uprooted and they didn't make a tiny sound of protest?
Where this will lead to is anybody's guess. Is the Eida flexing muscle for real, thinking they have a chance of winning this fight, or are they just doing what they think they have to to show everyone they are protesting, but will end it with a whimper? It does not look like this is a fight they can win, especially when so many rabbonim have paskened in this case the graves can be moved, but we will stay tuned to further developments.


  1. As much as it pains me to say it, the Gush Katif argument is outta place.
    1. Once the decision was made, there is no question that על פי דין the Gush graves should have been moved.
    2. There were many moral and strategic arguments against the the ....... of 2005, I don't think anyone can honestly say that it was wrong to do because it involved moving graves.
    Hence there was no reason to oppose Sharon solely due to graves issue, and once the die was cast one can argue that it was muttar to move the Gush graves but it is still problematic (why, however is beyond me) to move the Barzelai ones.
    Litzman was the one who pushed Gimmel into the goverment in 2005, and much of the DL/Chabad community hates him for that. But the two issues are unrelated.

  2. The point is there is no halachic issue involved with moving pagan graves. The needs of the living must be attended to. It will not cost much to reinter the dead in another location.

  3. From the pictures, it looks like the Eida meeting was in Yerushalayim. I find it hard to believe they would shlep the Gaavad and the Raavad out to BS to the askanim and not the other way around.

    But I find a lot of things the Eida does hard to believe, so who knows?

  4. Mul - I have been thinking about this all day, as I felt like you. I just realized that we were both missing the point. The point was not opposition to Sharon. We are not criticizing Litzman and UTJ with this statement of hypocrisy.
    We are criticizing the Eida and Asra Kadisha people (many of whom are Neturei Karta and Eida).

    For them the issue back then in 2005 should not have been to oppose Sharon. They would have been in favor (at least the NK people would have been) of the disengagement anyway. They should have fought tooth and nail for the graves to not be touched, regardless of the political issues.

    And perhaps they could have even used their connections in the PA to guarantee the safety of the graves.


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