Sunday, October 11, 2009

Non-Arab Christians in Israel Seek in Vain for Burial Sites


Orthodox denominations face discrimination from authorities, nominally Christian gatekeepers.
HAIFA, Israel, July 8 (CDN) — Here in Israel’s third-largest city, it was not possible for the Russian Orthodox relatives of a 65-year-old woman who died on June 27 to find a Christian cemetery for her.
Their plight – for five days the body of Nadejda Edelman was stored at a hospital morgue – is common to Christians of foreign ancestry throughout the country. When Edelman passed away in Rambam Medical Center in this northern Israeli city, it took almost a week to find a grave for her and arrange for a funeral.
“There is no available cemetery for Edelman, a Pravoslave [Russian Orthodox] Christian, in Haifa,” said David Ratner, spokesman for the hospital. Haifa, with 265,000 people, is 90 kilometers (56 miles) north of Tel Aviv.
On July 1 Edelman, a devout Christian, was buried outside of Haifa in Emeq Hefer Local Council Cemetery – a “secular” site for persons of no faith tradition. Had there been a Christian cemetery available, Edelman’s family might still have had problems obtaining a plot; the immigrant had not been able to have her ID registered as “Christian,” only as “Russian.”

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