INTRODUCTION: One of Israel's most powerful religious figures resurrected a dispute between rabbis and archeologists when he dropped into a cave by helicopter winch on Monday (16 November).
NAHAL HEVER CAVES, ISRAEL (VISNEWS - ELI FASTMAN)
GV Rabbi Goren leaving Israeli Defence Force helicopter
SV & PAN TO GV Rabbi Goren and others look over cliff at IDF helicopter at bottom of gorge
SCU Rabbi Goren speaking in English
SV IDF helicopter
SV Rabbi Goren harnessed into helicopter, which then takes off.(2 SHOTS)
LV Helicopter descending into gorge. (2 SHOTS)
GV Rabbi being winched up in to helicopter
SPEECH (TRANSCRIPT) (SEQ. 3): GOREN: "But to tell you the truth that a youngster should be involved more than I. I am almost 60, over 60 at least, and I have in my pocket already 60 good years. So the danger is not so, not so serious, not so sincere, but I'm not afraid. I am sure that with the support of the Lord (INDISTINCT).. by God, I will enter the cave, and will come back (INDISTINCT) and I will say, hope to see you here a few hours later."
Background: INTRODUCTION: One of Israel's most powerful religious figures resurrected a dispute between rabbis and archeologists when he dropped into a cave by helicopter winch on Monday (16 November). Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Schlomo Goren went to the Cave of Horrors in the Judean desert to see for himself whether alleged remains of ancient Israelite warriors could be laid to rest there in a planned state funeral. A leading archeologist described the unorthodox visit as a breach of law, and again there were suggestions that some sixty skeletons found in the cave during 1955 and 1960 were not those of ancient Jewish heroes who fought the Romans.
SYNOPSIS: Helping Rabbi Goren in his attempt to reach the famous cave was this helicopter and crew of the Israeli Air Force.
But, according to Israel's chief archeologist Yigael Yadin, the Rabbi's party should not have been here in the first place without an excavation licence. It was also a mission of some risk according to the Rabbi.
When skeletons were first discovered by Mr. yadin and the late Professor Yohanan Aharoni, there seemed little doubt they were the remains of fighters in Bar Kochba revolt against Rome almost 2,000 years ago. But last weekend (15 November) the Jerusalem post quoted an anonymous expert saying they were from a different era.
The adventurous Rabbi Goren dismissed the claims as nonsense. yadin, who clashed earlier this year with Rabbi Goren over an archeological dig in Jerusalem, was quoted in the same newspaper. he said the chances of the controversial bones being those of the ancient fighters were still very high.
Before being winched up, the rabbi had examined the cave and found new remains of hand bones. He had been hoping for such a find before embarking on this venture. One thing not at issue after the Rabbi's visit is where all the remains will finally be put. Rabbi Goren declared the cave unsuitable and burial would take place beside a Roman camp-site on Mount Hever.
InitialsJS Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved