Jerusalem Police Prevent Extremists’ Interference with Exhumation of Slain Soldiers

Israel military police today cordoned off the Sheikh Bader cemetery–located between the Romema and Beth Hakerem quarters–to prevent members of the ultra-Orthodox Neturei Karta sect from interfering with the exhumation of bodies of Israel soldiers who fell in the defense of Jerusalem in the Arab-Israel war. The slain soldiers, as well as Jerusalem civilians killed during the fighting, were buried in the cemetery because of the inaccessibility of the Mt. Olives burial ground.

Exhumation of the bodies and their transfer to a new cemetery outside the Givat Shaul quarter was decided on in connection with the construction of a new government building in Jerusalem.

The Neturei Karta sectarians consider the exhumation sacrilegious and have announced a “Herem” (excommunication from the Jewish fold) on all Jews connected with the action. The Herem includes Shmuel Eden, an Orthodox member of the municipal council. Earlier this week, the religious extremists surrounded Mr. Eden’s home after sundown and, carrying black candles, performed a ceremonial dance and pronounced a medieval curse on the council member and all persons involved in the exhumation.

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