Sculpture in Front of Beersheva Prison Removed
by B. Rabinowitz
Due to the efforts of Rabbi Benzion Shetreet, rav of the
Beersheva prison, the prison administration issued an order
to destroy part of a sculpture that had been placed in front
of the prison's gates. The sculpture aroused sharp
opposition from visitors and prisoners. The sculpture will
be completely removed shortly.
A number of days ago, a huge statue was positioned near the
gate of the prison. It had been sculpted by a group of
prisoners under the direction of Yair Aharon from the
Peduyim settlement in the Negev. Upon completion of the
work, it was learned visitors and prisoners alike find the
sculpture offensive. They asked the prison's rav to have it
removed -- or at least to destroy its more offensive
As a result of Rabbi Shetreet's intervention, parts of the
statue were removed by the prisoners themselves. After
continued complaints, however, the prison administration
decided to remove the statue altogether. Yair Aharon said
that he respects the prison's rav who fought for his
principles and won.
In his capacity as rav of the prison, HaRav Shetreet
coordinates widespread Torah activities for the prisoners.
The activities have brought many positive effects. Many
prisoners have begun to observe Torah and mitzvos,
participating in Torah shiurim, delivered by rabbonim
and lecturers from area settlements who often visit the
prison in order to mekarev the prisoners. A religious
rehabilitation department, run by the Hamaayan BaNegev
institutions headed by HaRav Nosson Spector, is also active
in the prison, conducting seminars and lectures.