Daily Israel Report

Jewish Graves Found in Gaza

Graves belonging to Jews who fought for the British Army in World War I have been found in a Gaza cemetery.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 12/22/2011, 4:15 AM

Graves belonging to Jews were recently found in a cemetery in Gaza, according to a Channel 10 News report on Wednesday.

According to the report, the cemetery in question is the British cemetery located in central Gaza. The cemetery sustained damage in the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead in early 2009, and has undergone renovations.

It was during those renovations, said the report, that dozens of tombstones with Stars of David on them were found in the cemetery. The tombstones belong to Jewish British soldiers who fell in battle during World War I.

Ibrahim Jarda, who has served as the cemetery’s groundskeeper for more than 55 years, told Channel 10 that the cemetery has graves of soldiers from around the world.

“There are about 4,000 soldiers buried here,” he said. “They include Jews, Indians, Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders. Israel wanted to remove the Jewish bodies from the cemetery but was unable to do so.”

According to Channel 10, the monument at the cemetery says that the soldiers buried there fought against the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Among the Jews buried in the cemetery are Sergeant Gutfreund, Private Joseph and Corporal Bernstein.

Gaza also had an ancient synagogue containing a 10X6 foot mosaic of a crowned King David playing his harp and  dated appr. 508 C.E. bearing witness to a Jewish population in the city at that time. It was discovered by Egyptian researchers in 1965. The face was gouged out shortly after the discovery. When Israel reentered Gaza after the Six Day War, the remains of the defaced archaeological find were transferred to the Israel Museum and restored.