Rabbinate to lower fence at cemetery following uproar over Hamas victim’s separate burial

Cnaan Lidor is The Times of Israel's Jewish World reporter

Alina Plahti (Courtesy)
Alina Plahti (Courtesy)

A fence that separates graves at a cemetery in Beit She’an will be lowered and covered with vegetation following an uproar over the separate burial of a Hamas victim whom the Chief Rabbinate does not consider Jewish, the Rabbinate’s municipal representative says.

The announcement by Avi Pahima, the head of the Religious Council of Beit She’an, came after Alina Plahti was buried on October 30 at a separate compound of the city’s New Cemetery.

Plahti, who was 23 when Hamas terrorists murdered her at the Nova music festival near the border with Gaza, is buried in a separate section of the cemetery for people who are not considered Jewish according to the Orthodox interpretation of halachah, Jewish religious law.

Her family expressed the wish that she had been buried in the central section.

“Following the outcry, I thought a humane and fair solution needs to be found, which would not compromise halachah but address the family’s pain,” the Chief Rabbinate’s administrative representative in Beit She’an tells The Times of Israel.

Plahti’s mother, Olga, who on Monday told a Knesset committee about her pain and frustration over the decision to bury her daughter separately, today tells Ynet that the lowering of the fence “is an important step. It will make me feel better to know that Alina is close to everyone else and not separated behind a tall fence.”

At Monday’s meeting by the Aliyah, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee, its chair, lawmaker Oded Forer, was among several lawmakers who apologized for and condemned the way Plahti was buried.

Halachic rulers and interpreters have issued different edicts on the mixed burial of Jews and non-Jews, ranging from a blanket rejection of the prospect to permission to do it if this helps preserve peaceful relations.

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