Jerusalem (Sep. 8)
The Supreme Court has issued a temporary order overturning Education and Cultural Minister Zevulun Hammer’s suspension for two weeks of the controversial City of David dig. The archaeologists returned to the site to resume their work and the ultra-Orthodox Jews of the Mea Shearim quarter also returned to demonstrate against the excavation. Police were also on hand to keep the peace.
The court’s interim decision, by a three-justice tribunal, was welcomed by secular and academic circles who had contended that the original halachic ruling by the Chief Rabbis banning any excavations at the site was unjustified. The Chief Rabbis maintained that there was an ancient Jewish cemetery at the site, but secular and academic circles said there was no evidence for this contention and that in the four years of the dig no evidence of a Jewish cemetery was found there. The court, in its ruling last Friday, said it would publish the basis for its decision at a later stage.