Israel Mourns Gush Katif in Downtown Jerusalem

Tens of thousands filled downtown Jerusalem to take part in a national mourning ceremony and funeral of those exhumed from Gush Katif's cemetery.

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Ezra HaLevi, | updated: 18:38


As crowds gathered in Jerusalem's Mashbir Square, at the top of the Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall, ambulances carrying the remains of those exhumed from the Gush Katif regional cemetery approached the center of town.

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Magen David Adom ambulances bring the remains of those exhumed from the Gush Katif cemetery.

Jerusalemites line the staircases of surrounding shopping centers. Erased graffiti reads: "Rabbi Kahane was right!"

Coffins carrying the remains were slowly carried to the center of the square by friends and close relatives, while former neighbors and family members followed behind each coffin weeping.

Mourning families sit along King George Street.

A mourner comforts his grandson.

Former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Gush Katif Rabbi Yigal Kaminetsky and former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu all addressed the mourners, lamenting the destruction of Gush Katif, the desecration of the dead buried there and the synagogues slated to be destroyed.
"The National Funeral For Those Uprooted From Gush Katif's Cemetery"

"This is not a small sin, but a sin against the entire nation of Israel," Rabbi Kaminetsky said. "The Land of Israel is not real estate...."
Rabbi Yigal Kaminetsky addresses the crowd.

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) addressed the crowd, asking forgiveness on behalf of Israel's Knesset. Calls of "There is no forgiveness for such a thing!" were heard as Rivlin paused between words.
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin asking the refugees and bereaved families for forgiveness on behalf of the Knesset.

Following the speeches the coffins were carried toward waiting vehicles, to proceed slowly toward the Mount of Olives, where the deceased would be reinterred.
The body of Yosef Haukif, a B'nei Menashe immigrant to N'vei Dekalim from north India, is carried by friends and family down King George Street.

All roads between the center of town and the Mount of Olives were closed to vehicular traffic to allow the procession and throngs of mourners to make their way toward the mount.
(Photos: Ezra HaLevi)