On the occupied west bank of the Jordan, torah scrolls sacred to the Jewish faith which Arab rioters damaged on Sunday (3 October), were buried in an ancient cemetery at Hebron on Wednesday (6 October).
On the occupied west bank of the Jordan, torah scrolls sacred to the Jewish faith which Arab rioters damaged on Sunday (3 October), were buried in an ancient cemetery at Hebron on Wednesday (6 October). The Arab crowds, who broke into a synagogue in Hebron, caused the damage in retaliation for the desecration of the Moslem Koran by extreme Jewish religious elements.
SYNOPSIS: The remains of the sacred Jewish torah scrolls were sorted. The parchment fragments were interred in seven clay jars while parts of prayer books and other religious objects were buried in wooden crates. If damaged, the holy documents must be formally buried in an urn.
It was at this tomb in Hebron, which is holy to both Jews and Moslems, that the trouble started. the Arabs believe that followers of extremist Jewish leader Rabbi Moshe Levinger entered and damaged the Koran, but at a ceremony before the burial of the jewish scrolls Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren appealed for religious peace. Jews and Moslems both had a right to pray here and vandalism would solve no problems he said.
Defence Minister Shimon Peres, who went into the tomb with other ministers on Wednesday, has announced that extremist Rabbi Levinger, whose followers are alleged to have caused the desecration of the Koran, will be brought trial for violating an army order limiting his movement in Hebron after the incidents.
The same day as the torah were taken to the burial ground there were Arab demonstrations in the west bank towns of Nablus, Jenin and Jericho.
But Rabbi Levinger who leads the extreme Gush Emunim group which is trying to re-establish a Jewish community in Hebron, continued his defiance of the government by calling for unrestricted settlement in the occupied west bank area. He tore his shirt open as a sign of mourning, but the microphones were cut off as he spoke. As the scrolls were being buried, israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in parliament warned that the government would act forcefully and decisively against any Jew or Arab who incites or participates in an act of racial or religious violence. Such an act, he added, was inimicable to both the Jewish and Moslem beliefs.
Orthodox Jews regard the torah scrolls themselves as holy, as well as their content. The scrolls are the first five books of the bible. Normally they are never touched by hand.