Eda Haredit honors fallen IDF soldiers. A top leader in the extremist haredi group, Rabbi Yitzchak Tuvia Weiss notified bereaved parents from the Yad Lebanim memorial society on Thursday that he did not intend on holding protests against the relocation of graves found at the Ashkelon's Barzilai Medical Center planned for Monday because he respects Memorial Day, which falls on the same day.
In a conversation with the Yad Lebanim Director Rahel Laniado, Rabbi Weiss emphasized that the protest will be held only after Independence Day in order to avoid offending the sensibilities of the bereaved families and so as not to disrespect the memory of the fallen soldiers.
The rabbi also apologized for the misunderstanding caused around the plans made by activists in Atra Kadisha, a group linked to the Eda Haredit, to hold a mass rally on Monday.
An Eda Haredit source told Ynet that information the group received indicates that the relocation of the graves will be started in the middle of next week and will last five days. As such, it seems as if there is no need to protest prior to this, as was originally suggested within the ultra-Orthodox group. According to him, protests will start only once the relocation is underway.
"Rumor has it that even Rabbi Weiss himself will come to Ashkelon," said the source.
"As of now, there is no intention of protesting on Monday," he added. "It also isn't fitting in terms timing because it is their holidays."
The source also revealed that Atra Kadisha Chairman Rabbi David Shmidel, who is spearheading the protest over the graves, is currently in regular contact and full coordination with the central stream of the haredi public, Rabbi Yosef Elyashiv and Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. Together, they are still trying to put an end to the affair in the political arena.
Yad Lebanim's request
Prior to Rabbi Weiss' conversation with representatives from the memorial society, Yad Lebanim Chairman Eli Ben-Shem called upon the haredi leader not to desecrate Memorial Day or sabotage national unity surrounding the day.
In a letter sent to Rabbi Weiss, Ben-Shem wrote, "I turn to you after receiving many requests from bereaved parents angered by holding the protests and ask you to act with sensitivity and to delay the protest and rally planned for Memorial Day to another date."
Ben-Shem noted that on Memorial Day, "We all become one united family in front of which stand thousands of families who lost the best of their sons in war while defending the homeland."
He called upon the haredi leader "not to forget to whose credit we live here in the Land of Israel."
A similar letter was sent to the chief rabbis of Israel with a request to speak with Rabbi Weiss on the matter.
Ben-Shem said Thursday to Ynet, "The telephone call from Rabbi Tuvia Weiss truly surprised me. We thought that we would actually receive a response from others, but it seems as though Memorial Day is held sacred by him, too. He said that he received the letter and that he holds us in high esteem and respects the fallen, and that he has no intention of desecrating their memory."