Thursday, April 15, 2010

Protesting the Ashkelon graves ruling

Eda Haredit calls on public to protest Barzilai decision

By JONAH MANDEL (Jerusalem Post)
13/04/2010 23:33

Badatz follows Atra Kadisha's stance that graves might be Jewish; UTJ to convene on issue.

Members of the Eda Haredit Badatz (Court of Justice) convened on Tuesday evening for an emergency meeting in Jerusalem following Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Monday reversal of the cabinet decision to relocate the planned construction of a fortified emergency department at Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center due to the presence of ancient bones at the original site.

The meeting was also attended by Rabbi David Shmidel, head of the haredi organization Atra Kadisha, which deals with safeguarding Jewish graves. Shmidel reiterated to the participants his group’s stance on the graves, which deems them as possibly Jewish. After hearing Shmidel, members of the Badatz decided that the graves mustn’t be moved, and signed a proclamation calling upon the public to protest the planned relocation of the graves. A demonstration is to take place in Ashkelon next week.

Earlier on Tuesday, Shmidel reiterated his group’s stance to The Jerusalem Post, saying that since there was a chance some of the graves belonged to Jews, it was prohibited by Halacha to relocate them. He also noted that Atra Kadisha had proposed an alternative site for the construction, which would be pricier but would also enable more beds for the hospital.

Although an Antiquities Authority announcement determined that the graves were “unequivocally pagan,” Shmidel pointed out that some of the wording in the announcement was ambiguous. He stressed that some of the archeological evidence upon which the statement was based did not necessarily lead to the conclusion that the graves were solely pagan.

Background here. If there was an IAA press release about the graves, I can't find it online.