Jerusalem police on Sunday detained at least seven ultra-Orthodox protesters at the Schneller Compound, opposite the Lubavitch yeshiva on Jeremiah Street, after they disturbed archaeological excavations taking place in the area.
The protesters were claiming that there are Jewish burial caves nearby, which may not be disturbed. Other protesters were dispersed, but not before a police car windshield was damaged.
The protesters belong to the Atra Kadisha (Aramaic for “holy site”) organization, whose goal is the protection and preservation of the tombs of Jews in Israel and around the world, based on the halachic value of respect for the dead.
The organization was founded in 1959, following the original battles waged between the Ultra-Orthodox and archaeologists over the excavation of ancient tombs for scientific study – which is prohibited by Jewish law, as it violates the dignity of the deceased.
Atra Kadisha is considered to be quite extremist, even compared to the Haredi public at as a whole, and he has been involved in violent clashes with police. One of the results of their activity, however, is that many archeological projects, as well as simple construction projects must budget for the possibility of a clash over Jewish graves within the sites in question.Yori Yanover