TEL AVIV – The chief rabbi of Jerusalem approved the burial of a Palestinian Muslim in a Jewish cemetery after imams refused to bury him over suspicions that he sold real estate to Jews, a capital offense in Palestinian society.
Aryeh Stern, Jerusalem’s Ashkenazi chief rabbi, made an unprecedented ruling according to Jewish law that Alah Kirsh may be buried at a Jewish cemetery as an exception because he was a “righteous gentile,” the Ynet news site reported Friday.
“Because the Muslims are not prepared to bury him,” Stern wrote in his ruling, he chose “to rectify the harm they caused him.”
Kirsh was killed along with five other people in a road accident earlier this month, but imams refused to bury him in a Muslim cemetery over charges that he was a “traitor” for selling property to Jews several years ago. Family members were also prevented from bringing Kirsh’s body to the Al-Aqsa Mosque as per Muslim tradition and forbidden from setting up a mourner’s tent.
Ekrima Sa’id Sabri, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, based his ruling on a 1935 fatwa issued by his predecessor, Hitler ally Amin al-Husseini, who wrote that “anyone who sells a home or land to Jews will not receive a Muslim burial.”
Sabri wrote, “Whoever sells to the Jews in Jerusalem is not a member of the Muslim nation. We will not accept his repentance and he will not be buried in the Muslim cemetery.”
Stern said, “Since the Muslims will not bury him, we must correct the distortion of justice that results in unjust humiliation of a man whose only sin was being prepared to sell land to Jews.”
“It is incumbent on us to honor a righteous gentile, and in this case a person who showed good will and was willing to take risks for the Jewish settlement,” he added.
The Islamic authorities in the capital have recently stepped up punitive measures against Arabs selling property to Jews.
Last month, Breitbart News reported that a Palestinian-American allegedly involved in the sale of Jerusalem real estate to Jews was lured to Ramallah two weeks ago under the pretense that he was required to sign some paperwork and then abducted by the Palestinian Authority and detained ever since.
Palestinians who sell land to Jews can face a death sentence.