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Separation forever

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“Non-Jewish soldiers will be buried in same section as Jews, but in different rows.” A small item in Haaretz that encapsulates the larger truth. Thanks to Ilene Cohen.

Note: The segregation policy that Israel is effecting is one between Israelis who emigrated from the former Soviet Union with doubtful Jewish pedigree and Israelis whose Jewish bloodlines are not in question.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon is expected to announce Sunday that non-Jewish soldiers will be buried in the same sections as Jewish soldiers in military cemeteries – but in different rows.

The decision follows an incident on Memorial Day when the IDF chief of staff chose not to place a flag at the grave of a fallen soldier whose Judaism was in doubt.

As a result of Sunday’s announcement, MK Elazar Stern (Hatnuah) is expected to shelve a bill under which soldiers whose Judaism is in doubt would be buried alongside their Jewish comrades….

Stern submitted a draft bill signed by 26 coalition and opposition MKs under which fallen soldiers who immigrated under the Law of Return would be buried alongside Jewish soldiers, regardless of their Judaism.

The U.S. integrated its armed forces in 1948. But Israel exempts Palestinians from service. Some Palestinians do serve. But Christians, Druze and Bedouin fallen soldiers are not even in the military graveyards, per the JPost, their families preferring community cemeteries.

Also notice that Hatnuah is the liberal Jewish party in Israel, and has accepted this segregation as a compromise. A Knesset member from Hatnuah is speaking at J Street’s conference in September. I wonder how he would defend this policy to liberal Americans.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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11 Responses

  1. Mac on July 7, 2013, 5:40 pm

    Does David Brooks have any comments on the “missing conscience” of Israelis?

  2. just on July 7, 2013, 7:07 pm

    This is totally insane.

    Apartheid in a cemetery after death.

  3. Xpat on July 7, 2013, 10:31 pm

    This shows the reach of the poison of an ethnic state. The army in Israel (as in many countries) boasts that it is the real melting pot of society. The argument goes: In the army, there is no White or Black, Ashkenazi or Sephardi.
    And now the military is the arbiter of degree of tribal pedigree. It all comes back to the need to make Israel “Jewish” whatever that means.

  4. Peter in SF on July 8, 2013, 2:26 am

    There won’t be a problem defending this policy to a “liberal” J Street audience. I’ve met these people. They really believe that different rules ought to apply over there, that Jews deserve special treatment in Israel, even to the extent that American Jews should have more rights in Israel than non-Jews who actually come from there and whose ancestors have been there for centuries.

    • Woody Tanaka on July 8, 2013, 10:58 pm

      Yup. zionism poisons everything, turning otherwise reasonable people into Klansmen in kippahs .

  5. amigo on July 8, 2013, 12:33 pm

    So , if I end up in hell will I be garanteed I will not have to live in the same bunkhouse as Zionists or these religious fanatics who think they are better than non jews even in death.

    The more light shown on Israel the darker it looks.

  6. jon s on July 8, 2013, 3:39 pm

    There are Jewish cemeteries, like there are Christian cemeteries and Moslem cemeteries.
    In traditional Jewish cemeteries the service is carried out according to Jewish law, which stipulates that the ground is designated for Jewish burial only.
    If a family prefers other options they have the right to do so , but those who prefer the traditional way, and expect their loved-one to have a traditional burial in an exclusively Jewish plot, have that right, too.
    The IDF had a dilemma regarding non-Jewish soldiers, wishing to honor them on equal terms, while not offending the Orthodox, and the Memorial Day incident, when the Chief of Staff skipped the non-Jewish fallen soldier, caused outrage. The arrangement reached is a compromise, not a bad one.
    Incidentally, my grandmother, of blessed memory, is buried in the “Shomrei Shabbes” cemetery in Bnei Brak. You have to have been shomer shabbat your whole life to get in there.

    • tree on July 8, 2013, 5:51 pm

      There are Jewish cemeteries, like there are Christian cemeteries and Moslem cemeteries.

      The cemetery in the article is a MILITARY cemetery, not a religious one. There is no valid moral excuse for segregating deceased soldiers in an non-religious cemetery.

    • amigo on July 8, 2013, 7:27 pm

      Bnei Brak.

      Same one where very few, if any non Jews live,

      Go ahead, isolate yourselves. Do in death what you have done in life.

    • Woody Tanaka on July 8, 2013, 11:08 pm

      Sorry, that’s excuse-making for bigots. These aren’t “Jewish cemetaries” they’re military cemetaries. If the Orthodox are so bigoted that they care who they’re buried next to, then any decent country would let the family put the body in a private cemetary, but wouldn’t crap on the memory of any other soldier by treating them as second-class citizens by indulging the bigots. Of course, israel is not a decent state.

  7. iResistDe4iAm on July 9, 2013, 7:22 am

    If apartheid was funny… from “Life of Brian”

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