BAR 22:05, Sep/Oct 1996
Death Knell for Israel Archaeology?
For years, ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel have used any means at their disposal, including violence, to stop archaeological excavations on the alleged ground that ancient Jewish graves are being desecrated.
Recent elections have significantly strengthened the religious bloc in the Israeli knesset, or parliament. With 23 seats out of 120, the religious parties are now demanding that ultra-Orthodox rabbis be given authority to stop archaeological digs whenever graves are found.
These forces in Israel are also enlisting support for their position from Orthodox groups in the United States, who in turn are pressing the case with Israeli embassy officials here and with at least one important member of Congress.