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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Tomb of Jewish Talmudic Sage Ransacked In Arab Village

Some of you may recall that a couple of months ago, I spent several posts telling you about the trials and tribulations of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center in its efforts to build a Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem. Some of you may even recall that the issue is that there may be remains of Muslim graves in the area where the cemetery is to be built.

But it seems that Muslim concern for graves starts and ends with Muslims. For the second time in six years, Israeli-Arabs (not even 'Palestinians' this time) in the town of Kafr Kana have desecrated the grave of Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel, one of the ten martyred Talmudic sages about whom we read on Tisha b'Av and Yom Kippur.
The tomb of Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel is located in the Israeli Arab village of Kafr Kana, near the Golani Junction.

In recent weeks the iron bars at the entrance to the structure – which sits atop the cave the prominent rabbi is buried in – were bent and broken. The entire tomb was also set on fire.

The fire damaged the site, blackening the stones and obscuring explanatory plaques explaining its significance. The stone steps leading down to the grave have been smashed and one of the walls has been torn apart as well. The site is also apparently being used as a dumping ground for garbage from the local village.

During the Israeli Arab riots in October 2000, just weeks after the burning of Joseph's Tomb in Palestinian Authority-controlled Shechem, Israeli Arabs torched the rabbi's tomb, causing the most extensive damage to the site.

The article includes pictures.


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