MK Elazar Stern of the Hatnua party has drafted a bill to ensure that non-Jewish
IDF soldiers, or those whose Jewish identity is unclear, will be able to be
buried alongside Jews in military cemeteries if their families so
Currently, non-Jewish soldiers are buried apart from their Jewish
comrades in military cemeteries although they are nevertheless interred in the
same section of the cemetery.
Jewish law prohibits burial alongside
According to Stern’s proposed legislation, if the family of a
gentile decides that they want their relative laid to rest in a military
cemetery then the placement will be in the same row and alongside any other
Although the bill was scheduled to be brought before the
Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday, it was taken off the agenda
following a request by the Defense Ministry, asking for a week’s delay to “study
the bill and consult with the relevant parties,” said a political
The Jerusalem Post understands, however, that the IDF is opposed
to the suggestion.
In addition, senior members of the Bayit Yehudi
faction, including Deputy Religious Services Minister Eli Ben- Dahan, are also
vehemently opposed to the bill.
Ben-Dahan is opposed both on grounds of
Jewish law, as well as due to his belief that the Knesset should not rule on
such matters without the involvement of the Chief Rabbinate.
proposed the bill following a controversy this past Independence Day when, as is
customary, the IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz planted an Israeli
flag at the grave of the most recent fallen soldier.
As reported by
Israel Radio, it transpired that the soldier on whose grave Gantz planted the
flag, Lt.-Col. (res.) Shlomo Nitzani, was not the most recent soldier to die
while on IDF service, and that another soldier, Yevgeni Tuluchko, had died after
him. Since that soldier was not considered Jewish according to Halacha, the IDF
designated Nitzani’s grave for the Independence Day ceremony.
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