Ancient graves near Barzilai
Photo: Tsafrir Abayov

Police prepare for clashes with haredim

Israel Police officials say forces preparing for several potentially explosive events involving Orthodox, Druze

Large police forces are gearing up for possible attempts by ultra-Orthodox to interfere in the planned removal of ancient graves near Ashkelon's Barzilai Medical Center.


Some haredi leaders have called on the community to fight the government's decision to clear the graves and construct a new, fortified emergency room at the site.


"We'll have to deal with a number of potentially explosive events, including the Jerusalem Day celebrations, the laying of a natural gas pipeline (on lands belonging to Druze) and haredi demonstrations at Jerusalem's Karta parking lot," a police official told Ynet on Monday.


According to other police officials, talks are being conducted with haredi leaders in order to prevent any altercations during the removal of the ancient graves.


On Sunday, a special committee established by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided that the graves will be moved soon, possibly as early as next week.


Sources at the PM's Office said work at the site will commence once Israel Police say they can secure the removal of the ancient tombs.


The Barzilai ER construction plans were approved more than a year and-a-half ago and can be implemented as soon as the graves are cleared.


The ultra-Orthodox website Behadrei Haredim has called on the haredi public to organize a protest, while the Atra Kadisha organization, which is heading the struggle against the graves' removal, is coordinating a meeting in Jerusalem to decide on future steps.


פרסום ראשון: 05.10.10, 17:49
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