When Genadi Drobitsky died of cancer recently, there was nowhere to bury him. True, there was a cemetery in Nahariya and it had open plots. Dobritsky’s son – a war hero who died in battle – is buried there, and Dobritsky himself had requested to be buried in that cemetery, as close to his son as possible. But it the burial was blocked by Nahariya's chief rabbi.
Igor (left) and Genadi (right) Drobitsky
Rabbi Blocks Burial Of War Hero's Father
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
When Genadi Drobitsky died of cancer recently, there was nowhere to bury him.
True, there was a cemetery in Nahariya and it had open plots. Dobritsky’s son Igor – a war hero who died in battle – is buried there, and Dobritsky himself had requested to be buried in that cemetery, as close to his son as possible.
But the local government’s burial society, acting on the orders of the Zionist Orthodox Chief Rabbi of Nahariya, Yeshayahu Meitlis, reportedly refused to allow the family of Genadi Drobitsky to bury him there, forcing the family to go on a humiliating journey to three other cities searching for a plot.
Because, Ynet reports, Drobitsky is not Jewish according to halakha (Orthodox-haredi Jewish law).
"Jews [not non-Jews] are buried in the Jewish cemetery of Nahariya. In the cemetery in [Kibbutz] Cabri they are building a new section for non-Jewish citizens. We can’t do anything about the fact that his son is buried [in Nahariya]. The father cannot be buried there because he's not Jewish. Fallen IDF soldiers who are not Jewish and died in battle are buried in the military ground in the same cemetery. If the father were buried in Cabri, he wouldn't be buried next to his son in any case. It doesn't matter if he is buried in Cabri, Kfar Masaryk or Akko,” Rabbi Meitlis told Ynet.
Dobritsky’s family went to three different cities before finally being allowed to buy their father – Nahariya, Shlomi, Akko cemetery along with the Sha'ar Menashe Cemetery near Hadera and the main burial society offices.
When Nahariya refused to allow Drobitsky to be buried in its cemetery, it suggested the family go to the Sha’ar Menashe Cemetery near Hadera. Sha’ar Menashe agreed to bury Drobitsky, but it is 48 miles away from where his son is buried, and the family was reluctant to bury him there as a result.
Then the Yad Lebanim Association of the Families of Fallen Soldiers and the Defense Ministry’s Department of Families and Commemoration found a closer place – a plotin the Akko cemetery. They were even able to secure a discount on the plot, getting it for half the price normally charged people who are not residents of Akko.
Then the family heard that the Shlomi cemetery, which is still close to Nahariya, would take Drobitsky. The family agreed and the funeral was scheduled for Sunday afternoon.
But at about noon Sunday, the family received a call from a representative of the cemetery.
Gabi Naaman, the head of Shlomi’s governing council, had blocked the burial because Dorobitsky was not a Shlomi resident.
The family was forced to go back to Akko to arrange their father’s burial in the city’s cemetery. When they did, the family was asked to pay for the entire funeral costs up front in cash. No cash, no burial.
The family didn’t have all the money in cash and had no way to raise it.
At this point, Nahariya Mayor Jackie Sabag ordered the city government pay the burial expenses.
"They eventually paid up, after showing insensitivity and foolishness, and after we have been running around for several days looking for a grave," says Drobtitsky’s son Roman told Ynet.
The city tried to blame the Ministry of Defense for what happened.
"A permit for burial at the bereaved parents' section in the city's military cemetery is provided by the Defense Ministry's Department of Commemoration. The Municipality does not issue permits. In the old cemetery in Nahariya there is no room for a civil burial section, and the civil burial at the new cemetery has yet to be completed. The mayor, due to his strong appreciation for the son's bravery, helped to locate a grave in a place close to Nahariya. A burial place was found in Akko – the best solution under the circumstances. The burial expenses were covered by the Nahariya Municipality,” the municipality said in a statement.
Through a spokesperson, the Ministry of Defense said the disturbing treatment of the Drobitsky family was not its fault.
“The burial of deceased who are not soldiers is conducted in the [local] authorities by the government burial society. All civil bereaved parents' sections are under the responsibility of government burial society. The Defense Ministry's job in this case is to confirm to the local authority that the person is a bereaved parent and that his son is buried in the military ground in that city. The religious issue is irrelevant. We take care of all religions,” the Defense Ministry spokesman reportedly said.