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Jewish Victims of Moroccan Plane Crash Buried in Mass Grave in Muslim Cemetery

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An Orthodox Jewish family from Amsterdam, victims of a plane crash in Morocco earlier this month, was buried in a mass grave at a Muslim cemetery in Morocco despite efforts to have the remains brought to Amsterdam for Jewish burial.

Marius Goldberg, his wife, Eva, their 6-year-old daughter, Nuriel, and 4-year-old son, Emanuel, were interred last Friday with the other 40 victims of the Aug. 21 crash in the Moroccan resort town of Agadir.

Saying it would be impossible to find and identify the remains of the Jewish victims, Moroccan authorities rejected efforts by the Amsterdam Chevra Kadisha, or burial society, of which Marius Goldberg was a member, to bring the Goldbergs’ remains to Amsterdam. Dutch authorities had also offered to send a special team of identification experts.

The Moroccan authorities also cited the need to bury all the dead as quickly as possible because Muslim law, like Jewish law, mandates that the dead be buried within 24 hours or as soon as possible after that in cases of emergency.

The Goldbergs, who were in Morocco to see the country where the Israeli-born Eva Goldberg’s family originated, were not the only non-Moroccans aboard the Royal Air Maroc jet. There were eight Italians, five with French passports, one American and two Kuwaiti members of the royal family.

No one aboard the plane survived the crash, which has been blamed on pilot’s desire to commit suicide. The crash occurred as the plane was en route to Casablanca from the coastal resort town of Agadir.

In Groningen, Holland, a Moroccan-born Jew, David Pinto, criticized the Dutch Foreign Ministry for not pushing harder to resolve the matter.

Pinto, who heads the Institute for Intercultural Relations, said he had been assured by a high-ranking Moroccan authority that the Dutch team would be admitted to Morocco without a visa, expediting the matter.

But the Dutch Foreign Ministry denied this. The ministry also said identification of the bodies would have taken a longer time than the Moroccans would allow.

Meanwhile, the matter has left the Amsterdam Jewish community in shock. Memorial services for the family were held over the weekend at an Amsterdam cultural center. Some 300 persons, including Marius Goldberg’s elderly mother, attended.

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