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Jews protest destruction of ancient cemetery in biblical city of Beersheba by hotel development

Jews protest destruction of ancient cemetery in biblical city of Beersheba by hotel development

Jewish communities from the greater New York and New Jersey areas have gathered in a mass protest Tuesday, September 4, 2012 in front of the Israeli Consulate in New York City, to voice their outrage of the recent brutality and anti-Jewish actions of the State of Israel.

According to a press release issued by the Central Rabbinical Congress, "After decades of trampling on religious Jewish values and violating basic human rights of all that stand in its way, the State of Israel continues to march-on on its evil path. Unfortunately, a fact that is little known or publicized, is the constant brutal oppression of the anti-Zionist Jewish communities in the Holy Land and the violation of their freedom of speech. They are oppressed simply because of their vocal opposition to the actions and existence of the State of Israel and their refusal to recognize the Zionist States' claim of representing the Jewish people."

The self-described anti-Zionist Jews are protesting the destruction of an ancient cemetery in the Biblical city of Beersheba, which they say is being demolished with the approval, support and protection of the State of Israel. The cemetery is being decimated to make way for the foundations of a hotel.

The Central Rabbinical Congress alleges that unlike previous instances, the developers of this project attempted to avoid provoking the religious community by seeking the approval of an apparently Orthodox organization that is actually a branch of the Israeli Ministry of Religions to silence the religious protesters. Protesters say that the cemetery in Beersheba contains several strata of graves  and the builders avoided the top layer when drilling the foundations, but paid no attention to the other layers. When human remains were unearthed, the supervisors looked the other way and the drilling continued, the group alleges.

Asra Kadisha, an organization for the preservation of cemeteries, began leading on-site demonstrations against the digging. The Israeli police promptly appeared and ruthlessly attacked the unarmed protesters. After these brutal beatings, the police commenced to arrest the peaceful protestors. Even eminent scholars such as Rabbi Reuven Merzbach and Rabbi Chizkiya Kalmanovitch, president of Asra Kadisha, were arrested without any evidence of wrongdoing. When asked what the charges were, police merely replied that it was "confidential".

"The reckless desecration of ancient holy graves, the torture and oppression of innocent people standing in their way, demonstrate the tremendous gulf that separates the Israeli government from Judaism and traditional Jewish people," said Rabbi Chaim Yosef Gottlieb, a refugee who fled the Holy Land due to decades of harassment that he suffered at the hands of the Zionist regime.

The rabbi continued, "Because the Zionists were totally heretical Jews, they founded a sovereign Jewish homeland, which is forbidden according to basic Jewish belief. It is for the same reason that their successors today have no respect for holy graves, and torture highly respected religious Jewish rabbis, amongst so many others. They want to uproot religious observance and silence all opposition to their regime.

"This destruction of ancient graves is an act of insensitivity to tradition and history that no government would permit. In fact, these graves were guarded for centuries by the local non-Jews. It is only the Israeli government, which calls itself Jewish, that has the audacity to destroy these historic holy sites. We are certain that our religion would be respected much more under a non-Jewish government, than under the current Israeli regime."


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About D. Beeksma

One of the growing crowd of American "nones" herself, Deborah is a prolific writer who finds religion, spirituality and the impact of belief (and non-belief) on culture inspiring, fascinating and at times, disturbing. She hosts the God Discussion show and handles the site's technical work. Her education and background is in business, ecommerce and law.
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