The New Israel Fund has slammed Economy Minister Naftali Bennett for his strong stance in favor of Jewish tradition, and particularly to Jewish attitudes towards the respect due to human remains.
The Free Israel movement, a member of the New Israel Fund, had applied for permission to bring an exhibition of plastinated dead bodies to Israel. The individuals in question had reportedly donated their bodies to science before their deaths.
Bennett rejected the request, saying the exhibition violated basic Jewish standards of honoring the dead.
These exhibits are considered very controversial, starting with the basic concept of displaying dead bodies, to the question of where the bodies actually came from.
For years, there have been reports that bodies for some of these exhibits were harvested from Chinese prisoners. In 2012, France prohibited the exhibit for a while, and various US states and countries have strict regulations and even prohibitions against the exhibit.
While it is unclear whether NIF wants to host the exhibition for its scientific or artistic value, the group launched a particularly inane question at Bennett in a statement, asking whether his objection to the exhibition of dead bodies would also lead him to prohibit the appearance by popular music star Lady Gaza next month.
“Minister Bennett, like his friends in the Haredi political parties (apparently the NIF is unaware that Bennett and the Haredi parties are rather fierce political enemies – MHS) believes that he should determine (the appropriate border between Israel’s self-definition as a Jewish democracy).
“We say clearly that every individual should choose what exhibition to go to and what things to avoid. If there is enough interest in this exhibit, then apparently it would measure up to the Jewish democratic standards of the public. IN short – let us decide what is appropriate and what is not. Don’t force your Orthodox beliefs on us,” the NIF said.