Rabbi ‘dug up graves for profit’

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY ROBYN ROSEN

THE FOR­MER HEAD of the Lon­don Beth Din, Dayan Chanoch Ehren­treu, is to chair an ex­traor­di­nary hear­ing against the chief rabbi of Turkey, who has been ac­cused of des­e­crat­ing an­cient Jewish graves in Is­tan­bul.

The al­le­ga­tions against Rabbi Yitzhak Hal­eva and his son, Rabbi Naf­tali Hal­eva of the Or­takoy con­gre­ga­tion, have been made in a com­plaint to the Con­fer­ence of Euro­pean Rab­bis (CER) by Is­raeli jour­nal­ist Shaul Schiff.

He claimed the “de­struc­tion and des­e­cra­tion” of three Jewish ceme­ter­ies was or­dered by “those crav­ing wealth and profit”.

Mr Schiff, who has spent sev­eral years sur­vey­ing the state of Euro­pean ceme­ter­ies, claimed that the rab­bis or­dered an­cient re­mains to be re­moved in or­der to re-sell the plots to mem­bers of the com­mu­nity wish­ing to be buried in the cen­trally lo­cated ceme­ter­ies.

He also claimed that dur­ing a trip in 2007 by del­e­gates sent by the CER to an Is­tan­bul ceme­tery, dug-up graves were dis­cov­ered but that Rabbi Hal­eva “feigned shock and hor­ror” at the sight.

Rabbi Yitzhak Hal­eva has de­nied the ac­cu­sa­tions and said: “It is not true. It is all lies. We are build­ing near the ceme­tery, not on the ceme­tery. I have in­vited the Con­fer­ence to come to the ceme­ter­ies to see for them­selves.”

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