Cemetery Appeals for Help Against Funeral Attacks

Vandals have stopped operation of cemetery in Haifa, as a fight between private security companies gets ugly.

Moshe Cohen ,

Jewish cemetery (file)
Jewish cemetery (file)
Flash 90

Numerous attacks by vandals have brought to a halt the operation of a cemetery in Israel.

Aryeh Farjoun, chairman of the Tel Regev Cemetery in the Haifa area, on Sunday sent a desperate plea to Deputy Religious Affairs Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan for help in protecting the cemetery.

In recent weeks, vandals have reportedly attacked the cemetery while funerals are in progress, throwing tear gas grenades and threatening families who have come to bury their loved ones. Graves have also been damaged, as have memorial stones.

The violence is due to a dispute between two different private security companies that claim they are the organizations who are supposed to be providing security for the site.

As a result of the damage, the cemetery's management decided to end all burial activity, in protest over the lack of security.

Ben-Dahan met Sunday with police officials to discuss the security situation at the cemetery. At the meeting, Elhanan Glatt, Director of the Religious Affairs Ministry, promised to find advanced security solutions for the cemetery. He also met with top officials in the Public Security Ministry and in the Israel Police on the matter.

After the meetings, Farjoun and other members of the committee agreed to allow burials in the cemetery – but only at night, when it will be easier to ensure that outsiders and vandals do not have the opportunity to interfere with funerals. At least eight families have been forced to find alternative burial sites for their loved ones.

Ben-Dahan said that he was seeking help from police and security officials to do stop the problem. “We wish to ensure that the cemetery is able to operate properly,” he added.