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March 17, 1995 - Image 70

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-03-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Bones And Money

The Orthodox are applying prayers and
economic leverage.

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utside the construction site [Ganei Hammat] hotel in
of a $120 million to $140 Tiberias, haredim in Jerusalem
million luxury apartment were setting garbage cans on fire
complex, haredi (Orthodox) in the streets."
men are praying. Police guard the
Protecting Jewish graves from
earth-moving trucks and tractors archaeologists and developers is
driving in and out of the site, high on the haredi public agen-
overlooking the Jaffa pier.
da. Raucous protests break out
Since the last week of Febru- here and there around Israel
ary, a few dozen to some 4,000 seemingly every few months.
haredim have shown up daily (ex-
The demonstrations date back
cept on Shabbat) to protest the at least to the beginning of the
excavation work on the project, 20th century, when they focused
called "Andromeda Hill."
on Jerusalem. They continued
Busing in from Jerusalem and during the Zionist archeology
Bnei Brak, they claim ancient craze of the 1950s and picked up
Jewish graves are being de- steam in the early 1980s, when
stroyed — a claim the construc- the haredi organization Atra
tion company and Israel's Kadisha (Holy Site) began ac-
antiquities officials deny.
tively monitoring excavations.
Some protesters have thrown
The most storied confronta-
rocks at police and shouted tions took place in the early
"Nazi!" at them. They've broken 1980s, at Tiberias and at an
windows of construction trucks. archaeological dig in Jerusalem's

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Orthodox Jews at a police barricade shout at construction workers.

Police have beaten a few of the
rowdier demonstrators and ar-
rested about 300 of them.
Developer Udi Ilan comes
home these days to find haredi
demonstrators outside his house
near Tel Aviv. He says anony-
mous callers have threatened to
kill him and rape his 12-year-old
daughter. On the basis of mali-
cious false alarms, fire trucks
have been sent to his house five
times, and ambulances 15 times,
Mr. Ilan says.
But compared with some oth-
er major battles over old Jewish
graves, the battle of Jaffa is "un-
der control," said Bar-Ilan Uni-
versity Professor Menachem
Friedman, a leading authority on
the haredim.
"After all, Jerusalem is quiet,"
Professor Friedman noted. "Dur-
ing the protests in the early 1980s
over the construction of the

City of David. Last year's battle
royal occurred at the biblical site
of Modi'in, where a new city is be-
ing built.
"The State of Israel is the only
country in the world where Jew-
ish graves can be desecrated
freely," said Eyal Porat, a lead-
ing activist in the Jaffa demon-
strations. "You have to show
respect for the dead. How would
people like it if their family's
graves were vandalized?"
Usually the clashes end with
builders or archaeologists amend-
ing their plans, and agreeing to
take extra digging precautions so
the haredim can walk away as-
sured that Jewish graves won't
be harmed further.
In Jaffa, however, developer
Ilan and the government Antiq-
uities Authority insist there are
no Jewish graves on the four-acre
building site.

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