Ultra-Orthodox Israelis protest grave removal

Last Updated: Sunday, May 16, 2010 - 15:01

Jerusalem: Israeli authorities have begun removing ancient graves to make way for construction of a hospital emergency room, setting off protests from ultra-Orthodox Jews opposed to the disturbance of what they believe are Jewish remains.

Police arrested 15 of the protesters who tried to block the work, which began on Sunday.

Archaeologists have determined the graves belonged to Christians or pagans from the Byzantine period, about 1,400 years ago.

But ultra-Orthodox Jews insist they are Jewish bones that shouldn`t be moved, in accordance with religious practice.

Israel`s Cabinet initially voted to relocate the planned facility in the city of Ashkelon. But the Prime Minister reversed that decision. The relocation would have cost millions.

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First Published: Sunday, May 16, 2010 - 15:01

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