||A poster calling for a demonstration to take place on Monday, the fifteenth of Menachem Av against the malicious government that allows the archaeologists to disturb the graves of "our Rabbis, the Baale Tosafot." Speakers include: R. Avraham Yarovitch, R. Nosson Kopshitz , R. Shabtai Yudelevitz and R. Menahem Mendel Davidovitz. The poster is signed by the Edah HaTsiborit LeHaganat Kivre Yisrael. [The community group for the protection of the graves of Israel].
The problem of bones being found at construction sites has always existed but its prevalence greatly increased after 1967 with the dramatic proliferation of development in and around Jerusalem. The Asra Kadisha (the Committee for the Preservation of Gravesites), established under the leadership of Rabbi Yitzchak Ze'ev Soloveitchik (the Brisker Rav), Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Finkel (Rosh Yeshiva of Mir), and Rabbi Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky (the Steipler), came into being as a response to major excavations at Beit Shearim in 1957-1959. Over the past thirty years, this organization, comprised almost exclusively of Chareidim, has organized protests and demonstrations at a number of archaeological and construction sites including French Hill, Jaffa, Modein, and most recently, at a newly-discovered Hasmonean burial ground.9 Some of these demonstrations have resulted in pushing, shoving, rock throwing, some arrests, and allegations of police brutality, as well as chillul HaShem. Due to the composition of the demonstrators (largely-Chareidi) and to the occasional excesses in their tactics, many identify those gravesite desecrations as merely a "Chareidi" issue which can then be safely dismissed or ignored as are a variety of other issues significant to that community. It must be emphasized, however, that while the Religious Zionist camp may be less vocal and public in its protests, a number of its leading halachic authorities, such as Israeli Chief Rabbis Lau and Bakshi-Doron and Chief Rabbi Kulitz of Jerusalem,10 have joined the Asra Kadisa (in principle, if not in tactics) by unequivocally condemning these gravesite desecrations as serious violations of halacha. Many other rabbanim have expressed their concerns privately. The unprecedented scope of these excavations should be of great concern to every Jew faithful to the dictates of his/her religion or, for that matter, even to a non-religious Jew committed to the history of our people.