Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox men took part Monday in a funeral procession for bones removed from Jaffa's Andromeda Hill, following their failed battle against the evacuation of tombs from the compound and the construction of a hotel.
The event, which turned into a protest rally against the bones' removal, was held by the Atra Kadisha organization. Its volunteers later gave the bones a Jewish burial, despite the Israel Antiquities Authorities' claim that the tombs belong to pagans and pigs.
Jerusalem funeral (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
The funeral procession began at the Eda Haredit center in Jerusalem and moved towards the nearby Shabbat Square. It was attended by leaders of the extreme faction. During the event, one of the spokespersons said a special plea against the desecration of graves.
Dozens of crates with bones were brought to the Eda Haredit center, and the Atra Kadisha members believe they belong to some 150 Jewish deceased. As in similar cases in the past, the bones were to be buried in a special cemetery at the haredi moshav of Yesodot.
After funeral – burial in special cemetery (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
An Atra Kadisha volunteer explained to Ynet why he and his friends reject the Antiquities Authority's conclusions. He said he had spoken with one of the researchers, who told him that the bones of only two pigs were found in the area, alongside many human bones.
"I once participated in the Mount of Olives works and we found dog bones," he said. "So what? Does that mean the tombs there don't belong to human beings or to Jews? All it means is that a dog was also thrown there."
The volunteer noted that as early as 17 years ago, there was an attempt to claim that bones found in the Jaffa site belonged to pigs, but that they were eventually found to belong to 600 human beings buried in the area.
"They also keep saying 'pagans', because there is no pagan today who can say, 'It's not ours, it's a different burial.' They make up things because they have to go on digging. One of the prime minister's closest associates told me that during the Barzilai tombs affair."