The decision was reached following late-night discussions between Defense Ministry representatives and religious officials. The Rishon Lezion branch of Chevrah Kadisha burial society said Natan Zada’s funeral would be held at 4.pm. in the city’s civilian cemetery
During earlier meetings, the killer’s family was convinced to back off the demand that Natan Zada be buried in a military ceremony. Meanwhile, Rishon Lezion Mayor Meir Nitzan also reversed his earlier stance against burying the terrorist in his town, after officials at the Prime Minister’s Office told him “he’s not the one who runs the Chevra Kadisha.”
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz reiterated Sunday morning that he would not allow the soldier to be buried in a military cemetery, as he does not deserve to be buried there.
However, the funeral affair is apparently not over yet. Ynet has learned that the City of Rishon Lezion and residents living near the cemetery, in the town’s east, object to the burial and are planning to petition the High Court of Justice against it.
One resident living near the cemetery said: “We bought a house in a new neighborhood. We don’t want this place to turn into a sacred site with far right people coming here on a regular basis and holding celebrations. We’ll do everything using the democratic tools available to us to prevent this.”
Meanwhile, Rishon Lezion Spokesman Nati Mor said the town’s stance on the matter is clear.
“If the prime minister wants to decide he (Zada) will be buried in Rishon, it would likely have to stand the test of the High Court,” he said. “At this stage we are unaware of any burial date or time.”
Confusion over burial ceremony
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz decided Friday that Zada would be buried in a civilian cemetery, rather than in a military one as demanded by Zada’s family.
Mofaz’s decision overturned an earlier agreement between IDF officials and the Zada family in which the killer would be buried in a military cemetery, but with no military honors such as a 21-gun salute or the placing of wreaths on the grave.
Zada’s parents told Ynet at the time they would file a plea with the High Court in a bid to overturn Mofaz’s decision.
“I will come with my son’s body to Mofaz’s home so he may look into my eyes and tell me not to bury it,” Yitzhak Zada said.
Yitzhak Zada also pleaded with Nitzan to allow his son to be buried in his hometown of Rishon Lezion.
Nitzan rejected the request, saying, “a man is buried according to where he resides, this is determined by Israeli law. We are not obligated to offer burial to every citizen, but only to residents of the city.”
“I feel sorry for the family, but he (Eden) identified with the residents of Tapuah, and that is where he should be buried,” he said. “His identification card states he is a resident of Tapuah.”
-Efrat Weiss also contributed to the story