Rabbonim are expressing growing concern over ongoing construction at the Nesher project along the Jerusalem – Tel Aviv Highway in the Ramle area, construction that is compromising the kevarim of Tannaim and Amoraim according to the weekly HaShavua report. The digging in that area has been taking place for a decade, including the area of the ancient cemetery, the oldest beis hachaim in Eretz Yisrael as has been confirmed by archeological exerts from Israel as well as others of international stature.
The digging takes place daily, reportedly under the watchful eye of chareidi inspectors, but this is not so, and as a result, kevarim of Tannaim and Amoraim are being compromised.
If one travels on Highway 1 (Jerusalem – Tel Aviv Highway) one can see that near the Nesher Cement Company, there is black tarp around the excavation area, the area where the kevarim are being compromised, kevarim from Bayis Rishon and Sheni – ancient burial caves simply being discarded in the interest of progress.
Unlike some of the other excavation areas in Israel there are no chareidi protests at the Nesher site and while gedolei hador hearing about what is taking place called for a public outcry, that outcry is yet to be heard. The report adds that some gedolei hador equate some of the difficult events Am Yisrael has endured of late with disturbing these very kevarim.
The project, the excavation that is, began in 2000, a project aimed at accommodating the cement company. The Ramle plant is the company’s largest of three in Israel and it is reported to be among the largest cement companies in the world. The factory in Ramle never stops working, not on shabbos or even Yom Kippur.
As the digging progressed an ancient village dating back to Bayis Rishon was discovered, and of course there was a beis chaim but the work continues in total disregard for the kevarim. Yehoshua Dorfman, the director of the Israel Antiquities Authority is quoted as confirming the beis hachaim is indeed an ancient Jewish one.
Rabbonim have expressed shock that the work continues and graves are opened and disturbed without any supervision. The Eida Chareidis Beis Din is expected to convene to address the matter in the coming days. Pashkavilim have already appeared condemning the ongoing project.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)