PA Claims Meah She'arim

Tzfat's Chief Rabbi: Jews may not be buried near deceased Neturei Karta leader. Fatah leaders pay condolence call, claim Meah She'arim as theirs.

Hillel Fendel , | updated: 3:22 PM

Hirsch funeral
Hirsch funeral
Israel news photo: Yossi Fuchs

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the Chief Rabbi of Tzfat, says that Moshe Hirsch of Neturei Karta should not have been buried in a Jewish cemetery, and that now that he has been buried there, no other Jews should be buried nearby.

Hirsch, who died over the Sabbath and was buried on Sunday at the ancient Mt. of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem, was the top leader of the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta sect. He encouraged and met often with Yasser Arafat, and his followers have also met with Iran's Mahmoud Ahmedinajad, who denies the Holocaust.

Fatah: We Demand Meah She'arim
A delegation of formerly active Fatah terrorists even paid a consolation visit to Hirsch's family on Monday in the Meah She'arim neighborhood of Jerusalem - and threw in a demand for the neighborhood to be included in a future Palestinian Authority capital. Abdel Kader, reponsible for Jerusalem affairs on behalf of Fatah, participated in the visit and said afterwards, "We don't plan to give up our claim to Meah She'arim, nor to the Neturei Karta Jews there."

Meah She'arim lies on the UN recognized, Jewish side of the border that divided Jerusalem between 1948 and 1967. The visitors said it was their first official visit to the neighborhood.

Rabbi Eliyahu spoke on the new Judea-based Galei Yisrael radio station on Monday, using harsh language against Hirsch: "In my opinion, he should have been buried outside the cemetery… This person took himself out of the nationhood of Israel; he is a heretic. 'The name of evil ones should rot' [a verse in Proverbs]. We are blessed to have been exempted from him; the verse 'when the wicked are lost, there is joy' [also in Proverbs] applies to this situation."

Arafat named Hirsch his "Minister for Jewish Affairs" in the Palestinian Authority. He or his followers often demonstrated around the world against the Jewish State and in favor of Arab rule in Israel.

Rabbi Eliyahu is the son of the former Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, who has been hospitalized in serious condition for several months.