A ceremony was held Thursday in the Meah Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem for the disinterred human remains removed from the grounds of Ashkelon's Barzilai hospital earlier this week. Hareidi-religious attendees apologized to the deceased for the disturbance to the bones. The bones are to be reburied as soon as possible.
Posters visible throughout the neighborhood accused archaeologists of treating the human remains with disrespect.
Hareidi-religious activists had attempted to prevent the removal of the bones, which were discovered as workers prepared the ground for the construction of a reinforced emergency wing. The activists suggested that Barzilai hospital move the construction project to an alternate location, but officials refused, saying that any delay in the project could put lives at risk.
The hareidi organization Atra D'Kadisha insisted that the bones were those of deceased Jews, while archaeologists said the bones were found near a pagan worship site and were almost certainly not Jewish. That theory did not reassure Atra D'Kadisha, which noted that all human remains must be respected.
Rallies against the Barzilai bone removal spread as far as New York City, where several hundred Satmar chassidim gathered in Manhattan this week to protest the incident.