The sheer number of dead in Hamas’s slaughter of residents and soldiers in southern Israel communities is far overstretching the army rabbinate’s system for identifying victims of wars and terror attacks at its base near Ramle.
A warren of refrigerated containers have been set up at the entrance of the base to hold all the remains, according to the Ynet news site. Bodies of civilians are being identified by police, while those of soldiers or where there are complications in identifying the bodies are moved into the base’s lab for further examination.
The decision to deal with all bodies at the rabbinate base was made by the Home Front Command without input from the Health Ministry, according to Haaretz.
Before authorities clear a body for burial, DNA tests and pictures must be taken, which are then run through various national databases. In some cases, families are being asked to come in to identify their loved ones.
The process has been slowed by a lack of experienced staff and equipment, and the devastatingly high death toll — over 1,200 according to unofficial accounts. According to Haaretz, doctors have started volunteering to help bolster the effort.
Some families looking for information about loved ones have begun showing up at the base in hopes of getting answers, only to find that they are not being let in, according to Ynet. Yesterday, scuffles broke out between police and relatives trying to get inside, the site reports.
Once bodies are cleared for burial, they are brought by ambulance to refrigerated rooms at cemeteries around the country. However, there is also a shortage of ready graves, according to reports. Overnight hundreds of volunteers, many of them teens, worked through the night digging and preparing a new area being set up on the Mount Herzl military cemetery for security forces killed in battles with Hamas gunmen who infiltrated Israel Saturday.
הר הרצל הלילה: מאות מתנדבים מירושלים והסביבה הגיעו להכין את החלקות ולסייע בחפירת הקברים לקראת ההלוויות. יוסף מרמת שלמה סיפר לנו: "אני כבר לא בגיל של לוחמים, אבל רציתי לעזור לעם ישראל בשעה הקשה הזאת". עבודת קודש בחמ"ל של בני עקיבא❤️???? pic.twitter.com/ALPmEt7Wke
— יוני בן מנחם yoni ben menachem (@yonibmen) October 11, 2023