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ANAHITA  July 1998

ANAHITA July 1998

Subject:

Get A Load Of This Outrage

From:

[log in to unmask]

Reply-To:

Women and Gender in the Ancient World <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 2 Jul 1998 03:27:52 EDT

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (115 lines)

From: Sheila Michaels, To: all y'all.
Monday, June 29, 1998 MK Merom:
Netanyahu promised Haredim: 'PM to fire dig boss'
By Merav Sheri and Shahar Ilan, Ha'aretz Correspondents
The director of the Antiquities Authority, Amir Drori, will be fired and
replaced by a political-religious chief as part of an agreement reached
last week between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the
ultra-Orthodox parties in the Knesset, according to MK Hagai Merom, the
chairman of the archaeology lobby in the Knesset.
Merom said that the new appointment will give the ultra-Orthodox sector
veto power over archaeological digs and research in Israel.
The deal between Netanyahu and the United Torah Judaism faction was
reached last Thursday after UTJ threatened to bolt the coalition if a
series of demands were not met, including also funding for yeshivas and
prosecution of businesses that open on Sabbath.
The ultra-Orthodox parties are now pressing Netanyahu to have the
government submit a bill - before the Knesset's lengthy summer recess
begins at the end of July - that would impose religious supervision over
archaeological digs and require approval of a ministerial committee to
continue any dig at which graves are discovered.
"We are talking about a liquidation sale of Israeli archaeology," Merom
said yesterday. "If the conditions of the ultra-Orthodox are met," he
said, "it will spell the end of archaeology in this country.",
Merom said that Drori's current term of office expires in two years.
Netanyahu's media adviser, Shai Bazak, said yesterday that no
information is released about the prime minister's closed meetings. "The
Antiquities Authority Council is about to conclude its term in office; a
new council will be appointed by the education minister and operate
independently, as has been the case until now.",
In another development, the spokesman of the Labor and Social Affairs
Ministry, Nahum Ido, told Ha'aretz yesterday that authorizing the
Religious Affairs Ministry's Druze inspectors to impose fines on Jewish
businesses that operate on the Sabbath would require a decision by the
minister of justice and approval by the Knesset's Law Committee.

 copyright 1998 Ha'aretz. All Rights Reserved
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
HA'ARETZ Editorial
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Archaeology in danger,

The coalition crisis of the moment - this time between Benjamin
Netanyahu and United Torah Judaism - was resolved, subsequent to
understandings reached between the sides at the end of last week. Among
the accord's clauses, all of which are relevant to the broad public
because they concern its lifestyle and the use the government makes of
its money, one demands particularly sharp attention: The status of the
Antiquities Authority.
The prime minister was reported to have promised the representatives of
the ultra-Orthodox factions that the Antiquities Authority council would
be replaced, to ensure that its composition shows far greater
understanding of the ultra-Orthodox representatives' stand on
archaeological digs at gravesites. Apparently an undeclared
understanding was also achieved - to aim to replace Amir Drori, the
director-general of the Antiquities Authority, and in any case to
prevent his tenure, due to end in two years, from being extended.
The Antiquities Authority council is the authority's management council.
It is appointed by the Education Minister and consists of 15 members,
some of whom are archaeologists and others representatives of the
public. The council's job is to approve the Antiquities Authority's
policy and to supervise its activities.
Legislation has granted the Antiquities Authority the effective power to
fulfill its function in the field of archaeological research and in
guarding Israel's relics. In practice, the Authority has the right to
veto any construction and development plan. In retrospect, it turned out
that the Authority's power is also necessary in order to repulse the
ultra-Orthodox invasion into the archaeological profession, which arose
from the claim that gravesites are "holy sites," not "antiquities." This
claim was refuted by directives issued in 1994 by the attorney general
and by a High Court resolution, subsequent to which it was determined
that bones uncovered in ancient graves shall be delivered to the
Ministry of Religious Affairs for burial. However, the Antiquities
Authority is still responsible for the archaeological activities carried
out at these sites.
The arrangement reduced the friction between the Antiquities Authority
and the ultra-Orthodox public: The Authority does not initiate digs in
areas anticipated to contain graves; it intervenes only in cases of
graves being exposed and harmed consequent to development works. In
reality, throughout the incumbency of the current government, the state
has avoided initiating development programs in areas considered to be
sensitive from the ultra-Orthodox perspective. Nonetheless, the
ultra-Orthodox parties are not content. They demand a place in the
authorities responsible for archaeological activity, relying on the
coalition agreement that promised to amend the Archaeology Law.
The amendments, which were meant to grant the rabbis the power to decide
on digs at burial sites, did not pass the Knesset because the government
discovered it was exposing itself to conflict not only with the
archaeologists but mainly with entrepreneurs and building contractors
who objected to delays in executing their development programs.
To compensate themselves, the ultra-Orthodox factions now seek to
increase their influence within the Antiquities Authority. In fact, they
are scheming to curb the powers given today to the professionals while
increasing the weight of ultra-Orthodox politicians in the running of
the Authority. This trend threatens the independence of archaeological
research in Israel, as well as the character of an important component
of the state's cultural image. The secular parties and academia are the
natural constituency to lead the struggle against this trend.

 copyright 1998 Ha'aretz. All Rights Reserved

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