Workers in the Maman cargo terminal at Ben Gurion Airport are
being exposed to the serious prohibition of tumas
Kohanim, as a result of the storage of bodies flown in
from abroad. Last week's Yated Ne'eman's Shabbos
Kodesh supplement disclosed that despite repeated
requests, including those of UTJ's MK Rabbi Avrohom Ravitz
and El Al's rabbi, Rabbi Avshalom Katzir, the problem has yet
to be resolved.
A number of weeks ago, Mr. D., a kohen working at a
company which uses Maman services, turned to one the
gedolei haposkim and described the problem of the
tumas Kohanim at the company's terminal, where
cadavers and organs intended for transplants are stored under
refrigeration. He asked if he should continue in his current
job under those circumstances.
An investigation by Yated Ne'eman clarified that the
problem causes serious obstacles for many workers. The
halachic authority whom Mr. D. consulted told Yated
Ne'eman that the simplest solution is to remove the
morgue from the terminal's premises or to build a fence
extending from the entrance to the terminal until the
refrigerator and then to the roof.
MK Rabbi Ravitz and Rabbi Avshalom Katzir turned to all those
involved in the issue, among them the Transportation
Ministry, the Airport Authority, and senior officials of the
Maman company. However, none of the appeals resulted in the
solution of the problem. "The problem must be solved
immediately," said one of the poskei hador, and as a
result, the editorial board of the Shabbos Kodesh
supplement involved itself in the issue.
During recent weeks, many people turned to the General
Director of the Transportation Ministry, the Secretary
General of the Airport Authority, and senior officials in the
Maman company, but each laid the responsibility on his
counterpart. Some even totally sloughed all
In light of this disconcerting information, it has been
decided to notify the public of the problem, so that
Kohanim will not unwittingly transgress. Several
importers have announced their intention to transfer their
products through the Gaza airport if the problem does not
receive immediate attention.