Levayah Held for Bones From Second Beis Hamikdash Period

The archaeological dig at the cave where the remains were found. (COGAT Spokesperson)

Hundreds of people participated in a levayah Tuesday for hundreds of bones that were discovered in a burial cave near Yericho, dated to the time of the Second Beis Hamikdash. The bones were scattered outside the cave, which had been bulldozed by Arabs who were doing illegal agricultural work.

The cave was found by hikers a few days before Pesach, the Srugim news site reported. The hikers were in the area of the Hasmonean Palaces, near Yericho, where they noticed the tractor work being done by Arab laborers in a protected archaeological area.

The sides of the cave were badly damaged, and ossuaries in which the bones were stored were ripped open, apparently by Bedouin looking for valuables. The bones were tossed aside atop the debris. The ossuaries contained inscriptions regarding the identity of those whose bones were stored inside.

The Regavim movement arranged for the reburial ceremony with the Civil Administration. The bones were reburied in Kfar Adumim, which is near Yericho. Binyamin Regional Council head Yisrael Gantz said that the funeral was a “’chessed shel emes’ for our ancestors. Our history is being destroyed on purpose by the Palestinian Authority, in Yericho and in thousands of other archaeological sites.

“Fortunately the Civil Administration was able to help us accomplish this burial, and acted in a very professional and respectful manner. Israel cannot accept this barbarism, and must deal with these kinds of incidents.”

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