Elyashiv: Don't budge Barzilai bones

Top halachic authority tells Litzman not to allow new fortified emergency room.

barzilai hospital ashkelon 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
barzilai hospital ashkelon 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Plans to build a rocket- and missile-proof new emergency room atAshkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center were dealt a blow on Thursday whenRabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, the top rabbinic authority for theLithuanian haredi community, told Deputy Health Minister Ya’acovLitzman not to be complicit in moving graves to make room for the structure.
Elyashiv told Litzman during a meeting at the former’s Mea She’arimhome not to enable the NIS 90-million construction since it did notconstitute saving lives.
According to associates of Elyashiv, he had ruled that “not only wouldallowing the construction cause severe damage from the point of view ofJewish law, but it would also change the image of Israel into agrave-moving country.”
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Litzman, of United Torah Judaism, insists that bones found on the sitelong planned for the new emergency room – determined by archeologicalexperts to be of Christians from the Byzantine period – are “Jewishbones” that “can’t be moved” according to Halacha.
Instead, Litzman wants the emergency room to be built on a more distantparking lot, which will cost NIS 100 million more and take 18 monthslonger to plan and put up.
An Israel Antiquities Authority study in 2008 of ancient remains foundon the plot shows the bones are those of “Christians or pagans.”
Judy Siegel Itzovich contributed to this report