Top haredi rabbis decry 'worthless' ultra-Orthodox radicals in Beit Shemesh construction row

Rabbis publicly defend Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch in letter posted in haredi areas, saying building presents "no halachic problem."

August 21, 2013 04:42
1 minute read.
Haredim in Ramat Beit Shemesh protest desecration of graves, August 13, 2013.

Haredim in Beit Shemesh protest desecration of graves 370. (photo credit: Sam Sokol)


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 Don't show it again

Two of Israel's most senior haredi rabbis, Rabbi Haim Kanievsky and Rabbi Nissim Karelitz, have publicly criticized radical elements in the ultra-Orthodox community who have violently protested against construction work in Beit Shemesh.

In a public notice published Tuesday and posted in haredi neighborhoods, the rabbis deplored recent criticism of a ruling by another leading rabbi, who found that continuing with the building presents no halachic problem.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

“Worthless people have opened their mouths against one of the great Torah sages of our generation, Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch,” wrote the rabbis.

“We hereby protest this for the honor of the Torah. May it be God’s will that [these people] fully repent.”

The comments represent the first time leading haredi rabbis have publicly objected to the actions of the hard-line group protesting against the construction work in Beit Shemesh.

The group, called Atra Kadisha and connected to a faction in the radical Eda Haredit communal organization, believes that the building site, known as the Goloventzitz project, possibly contains Jewish graves which make construction at the site forbidden.

Sternbuch, who is himself the second-highest figure in the Eda, has ruled that there is no problem with construction at the site.

However, the chief rabbi of the group, Rabbi Yitzhak Tuvia Weiss, has ruled that the work should stop, and Atra Kadisha therefore rejects Sternbuch’s ruling, saying it is simply following Weiss’s ruling.

The comments of Kanievsky and Karelitz – who are from the mainstream haredi community, unlike the Eda – are, however, unlikely to be listened to by members of Atra Kadisha, because of their allegiance to Weiss.

The comments may, however, increase pressure on the group to tone down its violent protests and polemics against construction and against Sternbuch.

Related Content

Joan Rivers
August 28, 2014
Joan Rivers rushed to hospital following throat surgery