Languages
Page last updated at 17:17 GMT, Sunday, 16 May 2010 18:17 UK

Police confront Ultra-Orthodox Jews over grave removal

Israeli police detain an ultra-Orthodox Jewish protester in Ashkelon on 16 May 2010
Officers carried off dozens of demonstrators staging a sit-in

Israeli riot police have tussled with Ultra-Orthodox Jews furious about an operation to relocate ancient graves in the southern city of Ashkelon.

Police arrested 30 of the protestors, who regard disturbing Jewish remains as sacrilege.

Archaeologists say there are probably no Jewish graves at the site, which dates from the Byzantine era.

Israel's PM says the land is needed for a bomb-proof hospital ward, safe from any Palestinian rocket attack.

Two months ago, the government voted to relocate the planned facility, under pressure from Ultra-Orthodox coalition members of the Cabinet.

But Premier Benjamin Netanyahu reversed that decision.

It was estimated moving the new hospital wing instead would have cost taxpayers at least 100m shekels ($26m; £14m).

Officers carried off dozens of demonstrators who staged a sit-in on Sunday outside Barzilai Hospital in the city, which is not far from the Gaza Strip.

Riot police deployed around the hospital the evening before to deter attempts to disrupt the excavations by the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The protesters say there are Jewish bones that should not be disturbed at the site, which the authorities say is about 1,400 years old.



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
High cost of leaving ultra-orthodox Judaism
11 Jan 10 |  Middle East
Religious row holds up Israeli hospital
05 Apr 10 |  Middle East
Orthodox strife grips Jerusalem
16 Jul 09 |  Middle East
Is that cellphone kosher?
06 Oct 08 |  Middle East
Rabbis black-list non-kosher music
12 Sep 08 |  Middle East

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific