Belarus congregation approved construction atop former Jewish cemetery

The Jewish community is responding to criticism from international media over the planned construction.

By JTA
September 5, 2017 12:11
1 minute read.
Jewish cemetery

Desecrated tombstones of a Jewish cemetery (Illustrative). (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Authorities in Belarus defended a court’s authorization of controversial construction atop what used to be a Jewish cemetery.

The Belarus foreign ministry on Sunday said the local Jewish community of Gomel in southeastern Belarus approved of the plan because it is impossible to pinpoint where the bones are buried, in defense against criticism in international media over the planned construction in Gomel.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


The consent that led to the court’s authorization was granted by the Beit Ya’akov Orthodox congregation led by Rabbi David Kantarovich, the foreign ministry said.

A judge of the Tsentralny District Court on August 21 ruled not to intervene in plans for the construction of two luxury apartment buildings on the grounds of a former cemetery on Sozhskaya Street in the eastern city. The court was responding to a motion for an injunction submitted by Yakov Goodman, a Jewish-American activist for the preservation of Jewish heritage sites in his native Belarus who is outspoken in his criticism of the treatment of Jewish heritage sites in the country.

The Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, the World Jewish Congress and the Union of Public Associations and Jewish Communities criticized the ruling, urging authorities to hold off on any construction.

But Kantarovich’s community determined that there is no reason to fear that the planned construction would disturb human remains – a prospect that is considered a desecration by followers of halacha, or Jewish law, the Belarusian foreign ministry said in a statement sent to JTA Sunday.

Sampling for human remains was conducted in the rabbi’s presence in March, demonstrated “absence of human remains in the land,” the statement by the ministry said. The ministry added that it takes the preservation of Jewish heritage and its sites very seriously.


JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Protesters participate in a demonstration against antisemitism in Parliament Square in London
September 20, 2018
Swedish ambassador, Jewish leaders met to discuss rise in antisemitism

By SHANNON PRATHER/STAR TRIBUNE