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0202 – Points of View from Jerusalem


"Fierce protest last night in the Ge'ula neighborhood: Police disperse using stun grenades

An unusually wild protest broke out in the middle of the night last night in the Geula neighborhood in Jerusalem. In the center of the Haredi neighborhood, there is a hostel on Tsefania street, [providing refuge for] the needy, drug abusers, childless people and the homeless. Once in a while, residents of the hostel pass away; often before their time and sometimes as a result of drug overdoses. Every time a death like this happens in the heart of the neighborhood, it makes waves – and this time was no exception.

On Saturday night, at around 11pm, the body was discovered and police were called to the hostel. The locals understood immediately what this meant and began demonstrating due to their suspicion that the police would demand for a post-mortem to be conducted on the body [to investigate the circumstances of the death], which would cause dispair to the soul of the deceased [1]. The head of the Jerusalem division of Zaka [2] attempted to reach an understanding [with the police] that the body would be taken to the Shaare Zedek hospital and not to the pathological institute in Abu Kabir. The police, it seems, agreed to this, but the demonstrators, who were still suspicious, weren't willing to give in and demanded that the body be released immediately.

The demonstrators surrounded the building for several hours into the night, while the police tried repeatedly to transfer the body to the ambulance.

At around 2:30 am the police ran out of patience and despite the late hour, threw stun grenades into the crowd, at which point most of the demonstrators dispersed. […]"

– Behadrei Haredim

0202 Editor's Notes:
[1] Traditionally, Jewish law prescribes that when a Jew dies, the body should be buried as quickly as possible. The Jewish ritual surrounding the treatment of the body in preparation for the burial is carried out by a group known as the 'Hevra Kadisha', who are trained to treat the body in accordance with Jewish law. Some of the more extreme Haredi groups are opposed to post-mortems for fear that it will be conducted by a gentile who will not treat the body accordingly.
[2] Zaka is an acronoym for 'identification of disaster victims'. It is a Haredi organization whose purpose is to do just that. They are mostly known for their work during natural disasters.

#Geula #Burial #Post_Mortem