MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni said he will demand a full investigation
of the transfer of graves from the gravesite in Netiv
HaShayarah, located near Nahariya, to an alternative site on
the moshav, saying the incident was liable to set a precedent
for further acts of disinterment. The operation was shrouded
in secrecy and carried out while national attention was
focused on the transfer of graves out of Gush Katif. The
explanation given was "concerns of grave desecration by
minorities" but the action may have been done illegally
without consulting the rabbinical authorities, resulting in
harm to kovod hameis.
According to a report in Hamodia residents decided to
transfer 22 graves from one place to another within Netiv
HaShayarah jurisdiction, saying that several times in recent
years local minorities have desecrated the gravesite, which
bordered the Arab town of Danun.
The secretiveness surrounding the grave transfer suggests
that not all of the legal criteria required for the
disinterment of bodies were met. Moshav residents, who
declined to be interviewed, insist they received permission
from the regional rabbi.
Netiv HaShayarah was originally founded as a religious moshav
but in recent years mostly secular and traditional families
have been living there alongside a few religious families.
Tefillos are held at the moshav beis knesses on
Shabbosos and sometimes weekdays. Rav Meir Azoulai was
recently appointed rov of the moshav.
The Chief Rabbinate says that no request was made to transfer
the graves and it called the act a dangerous precedent.
Nearby Moshav Ein Yaakov also has plans to move their
gravesite for the same reason. Various figures have already
contacted the head of the moshav to prevent violations of
According to the Hamodia report, Rav Shlomo Eliyahu,
who serves as the rov of the Asher Region, acknowledged
permitting the transfer, saying that if graves could be moved
from Gush Katif to prevent the Palestinians from desecrating
them, graves could be moved from Netiv HaShayarah for exactly
the same reason. The Chief Rabbinate says Rav Eliyahu should
have come to them for approval.
According to Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger the incident could
have serious ramifications. Even if the circumstances
appeared to justify the transfer of the graves the matter
should have been brought before the Chief Rabbinical Council
and the leading poskim should have been consulted.
The Health Ministry has also decided to look into the
incident since health regulations may have been violated as
"This sort of thing should be avoided in the future due to
the serious consequences," said Rabbi Gafni, adding that he
would try to have the matter raised onto the agenda in the