Gedolei Yisroel Issue Letter Against Yaffo Grave Desecration


rav-elyashiv2Led by Maran HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv, gedolei Yisroel  have issued a piercing letter against the grave desecration at the ancient cemetery in Yaffo.

“We were deeply shocked to hear about the terrible news, which rends the heart of every Jew, regarding the desecration and disruption of the age-old Jewish graves at the ancient cemetery in the city of Yaffo, near the ancient cemetery where gedolei Yisroel waged a stiff battle 15 years ago to prevent its desecration. Talmidei chachomim who toil in Torah study are kept from protesting at the site using brutal means and thrown into jail. Woe are we that this has befallen in our day and age, and woe are the ears that hear of such events.

“As is well known, in past times in the bitter and difficult diasporas, when the enemies of the Jewish people imposed decrees upon us, the entire nation was deeply disturbed and stood unflinchingly, laying forth their prayers and supplications to Our Father in Heaven to cancel the decree. Meanwhile, in our generation, due to our many sins, certain figures have audaciously and unthinkingly desecrated these graves, Rachmono litzlan.”

Maranan verabbonon are warning the public not to lend a hand to this grave transgression in any way. “Therefore, we hereby give notice that according to the Torah this is absolutely forbidden, and nobody may lay a hand on this cemetery to excavate or remove bones. And no Jew is permitted to lend a hand or assist in this grave transgression in any manner.

“And we express our dismay and forceful objection to this terrible crime.”

Urging the Torah-true public not to remain complacent in the face of these events, which pose a threat to the Jewish people, Gedolei Yisroel shlita wrote, “and to our Jewish brethren we ask that you not be indifferent in the face of such terrible acts. As Chazal said (Yevamos 63b), ‘Vehoyso Yad Hashem bochem uve’avoseichem‘ refers to those who disturb the dead. As Mar said, ‘Due to the sins of the living the dead are disturbed.’

“These acts pose a danger to the Jewish people, chas vesholom. Especially at a time when we are surrounded by foes and enemies and are greatly in need of Heavenly Mercy, we must plead and ask for rachamim before Our Father in Heaven for His people and His inheritance – ‘Yoshuv yerachameinu veyichbosh avonoseinu.’ And may He send us a Righteous Redeemer speedily in our days amen.”

Despite the stalwart campaign, excavation work continues at the cemetery in Yaffo as police use extreme force to keep demonstrators at a distance. Early this week a prayer and protest rally was held at the site with HaRav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz and HaRav Chaim Kanievsky on hand. The protesters recited the tefilloh by HaRav Chaim Palagi to defend against those who disturb the dead, as well as a prayer for the excavation work to stop immediately.

A special prayer and protest gathering took place in London opposite the Israeli embassy there. Hundreds of protesters were led by HaRav Moshe Chaim Padwa, HaRav Aharon Dovid Dunner and other prominent rabbonim.

A week earlier a similar protest was held in Washington, DC expressing the pain and sorrow felt by Jews around the world at the terrible desecration taking place in Eretz Yisroel.

{Deiah veDibur/ Newscenter}