A fire broke out Wednesday evening at a crematorium located in the community of Hibat Tzion in the Sharon region. Firefighters dispatched to the scene extinguished the flames; no injuries were reported.
Signs of forced entry were apparent, increasing suspicions that the fire was not accidental.
Crematorium after fire (Photo: Raanan Ben-Zur)
The location of the crematorium, the first ever to be built in Israel, was revealed Wednesday morning by an Orthodox newspaper Kav Itonut Datit, which is distributed in the city of Bnei Brak.
Until now the funeral home that owns the crematorium, Alei Shalechet, kept the location secret fearing it would be attacked by groups opposed to cremation.
Meshi Zahav at crematorium (Photo: Uzi Barak)
Orthodox groups have taken legal action against the company in the past, in an effort to stop its activities. Six months ago Yehuda Meshi Zahav, chairman of the ZAKA search and rescue organization, filed a complaint with Israel Police claiming that Alei Shalechet carried out activities that are in violation of Israeli law and operated without a necessary permit from the Health Ministry.
After hearing of the fire, Meshi Zahav, who visited the crematorium on Tuesday, told Ynet that he “blesses the person who (set the crematorium on fire)”, adding that ZAKA has been fighting against the cremation of Jewish people’s bodies all over the world and that it was “inconceivable that this custom exists in Israel”.
“The purpose of the crematorium is to burn, so now – an eye for an eye – it has fulfilled its purpose,” he said.