Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

11 Elul 5765 - September 15, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Calls for Investigation of Cemetery Transfer at Northern Moshav

By Y. Ariel

MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni said he will demand a full investigation of the transfer of graves from the gravesite in Netiv HaShayarah, located near Nahariya, to an alternative site on the moshav, saying the incident was liable to set a precedent for further acts of disinterment. The operation was shrouded in secrecy and carried out while national attention was focused on the transfer of graves out of Gush Katif. The explanation given was "concerns of grave desecration by minorities" but the action may have been done illegally without consulting the rabbinical authorities, resulting in harm to kovod hameis.

According to a report in Hamodia residents decided to transfer 22 graves from one place to another within Netiv HaShayarah jurisdiction, saying that several times in recent years local minorities have desecrated the gravesite, which bordered the Arab town of Danun.

The secretiveness surrounding the grave transfer suggests that not all of the legal criteria required for the disinterment of bodies were met. Moshav residents, who declined to be interviewed, insist they received permission from the regional rabbi.

Netiv HaShayarah was originally founded as a religious moshav but in recent years mostly secular and traditional families have been living there alongside a few religious families. Tefillos are held at the moshav beis knesses on Shabbosos and sometimes weekdays. Rav Meir Azoulai was recently appointed rov of the moshav.

The Chief Rabbinate says that no request was made to transfer the graves and it called the act a dangerous precedent. Nearby Moshav Ein Yaakov also has plans to move their gravesite for the same reason. Various figures have already contacted the head of the moshav to prevent violations of kovod hameis.

According to the Hamodia report, Rav Shlomo Eliyahu, who serves as the rov of the Asher Region, acknowledged permitting the transfer, saying that if graves could be moved from Gush Katif to prevent the Palestinians from desecrating them, graves could be moved from Netiv HaShayarah for exactly the same reason. The Chief Rabbinate says Rav Eliyahu should have come to them for approval.

According to Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger the incident could have serious ramifications. Even if the circumstances appeared to justify the transfer of the graves the matter should have been brought before the Chief Rabbinical Council and the leading poskim should have been consulted.

The Health Ministry has also decided to look into the incident since health regulations may have been violated as well.

"This sort of thing should be avoided in the future due to the serious consequences," said Rabbi Gafni, adding that he would try to have the matter raised onto the agenda in the Knesset.


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