The State has decided to recognize the Israelis murdered in the Mumbai terror attacks as victims of terrorism and pay for their funerals, but not all are happy with this decision. The family of slain Hasid Aryeh Leib Teitelbaum has informed the government that it would like the State not to intervene with his funeral.
According to a family member, "Holding a Zionist funeral for Teitelbaum, who was a Satmar Hasid, would desecrate the dead man's honor." The family demanded not to have a government representative at the funeral and that the casket, which will be flown into Israel today, would not be covered with the Israeli flag.
They also asked that Teitelbaum's body would be released immediately upon the plane's arrival, so that they would be able to hold an intimate funeral for him as soon as possible.
Shmuel Pfenheim of the Haredi Community anti-Zionist stream told Ynet: "I'm sending a message from the family. We don't want the State to meddle in our grief. Suddenly Israel has an interest to show the world that it is also a victim of global jihad, so it decides to throw a big ceremony with a coffin wrapped in a flag. We object to this. It pains us and offends our values."
'Not an envoy of the State'
Pfenheim, who attended the same yeshiva as Teitelbaum, added: "He wasn't killed as an envoy of the State or as a Zionist person. He simply went there as a kashrut supervisor on behalf of an American kashrut system. He himself was an American citizen, and although he was a resident in Israel he wasn't an Israeli national.
"The mere fact that he was living here, in a closed congregation, doesn't give the country permission to exploit his death."
Despite their protest, sources in the Haredi Community stressed that they did not plan to create havoc over the matter. "We are not like Neturei Karta. We conduct our struggles peacefully, and are simply begging the minister in charge and the police – the man has suffered enough. He's been there for almost a week. Let us bury him according to the family's will."