Friday, May 07, 2010

The Ashkelon graves controversy continues.

THE ASHKELON GRAVES CONTROVERSY just keeps going and going ...
New plan suggests building Ashkelon hospital ER underground
MK Eitan Gafni proposes plan to avoid uprooting Jewish graves thought to be under current ER, which PM decided won't be relocated.

By Yair Ettinger
Tags: Israel news Ashkelon Benjamin Netanyahu

The director general of the Prime Minister's Office, Eyal Gabai, announced Thursday that he was considering a plan to build a new emergency room at Ashkelon's Barzilai Medical Center underground, instead of rebuilding it in its current location.

Two months ago a graveyard was discovered under the site on which the ER is built. Once the grave site was found at the original construction site, the Antiquities Authority confirmed the graves belonged to Jews, and put the planned project on indefinite hold.

I have certainly seen nothing from the IAA saying that they now think the graves are Jewish rather than pagan. (The last I heard anything about this is noted here.) I want to see some verification before I accept the claim in this article.
The outcry over the planned relocation prompted Netanyahu to retract his original decision to relocate, and the emergency room was set to be rebuilt at its current location.

However, MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) has recently promoted a new idea to rebuild the controversial ER underneath the alleged ancient Jewish graves.

According to a rabbi with the Zaka emergency service organization, Gafni's suggestion is "serious." Several Rabbis reviewed Gafni's plan and presented Gabai of the Prime Minister's Office with architectural blueprints for the underground ER, prepared for them by an architect. They said that the plan was beneficial as it would circumvent the uprooting of Jewish graves.

Zaka's rabbi, along with rabbi Arie Dvir, said that the plan to build the emergency room underground would be cheaper than building an above ground emergency room and reinforcing it against rocket attacks – as the original plan dictates.

The Prime Minister's Office said in response that they have reviewed the plan and will announce a decision within the coming days.

So it seems that negotiation about how to deal with the graves continue.