Exhumation (illustration)
Exhumation (illustration)ISTOCK

The office of Israel’s chief Ashkenazi rabbi wants to exhume from a Jerusalem cemetery the body of a woman who pretended to be Jewish, while working as a Christian missionary.

A top representative of Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau outlined the plan in June to exhume or alternatively fence off the grave of Amanda Elk, also known as Amanda Elkohen.

Or L’Achim, an organization that tries to counter Christian proselytization in Israel, published the chief rabbi’s position laid out by the representative, Rabbi Raphael Altman, on its Facebook page this week.

Exhumation is an extreme measure in Judaism, where mortal remains should not be disturbed.

Amanda, who had emigrated from the United States under Israel’s Law of Return for Jews, died of cancer earlier this year, and was buried at a Jewish cemetery in Jerusalem, where she had lived with her husband.

In April, Amanda's husband, Michael Elk, was unmasked as a Christian missionary after years of living as a rabbi and a scribe in a haredi Orthodox community in the Jerusalem neighborhood of French Hill.

Elk had claimed to Israeli media that he had been born Jewish and joined Jews for Jesus, though missionary watchdog groups found that he was born and raised in a Christian family.

The chief rabbi’s office argued that Amanda Elk's remains should be removed from the cemetery because allowing the missionary's grave to remain in place would be unfair to the Jews buried around her and their relatives, who believed they were buried along with their coreligionists, as is customary in traditional Judaism.

“All efforts must be done to move her to a non-Jewish plot,” Altman wrote in June. “If that’s impossible, a fence should be put around the grave.”