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A New Low - Impressions and Expressions of Ijon
July 23rd, 2002
01:35 pm


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A New Low
Israel has been terrorized by suicide bombings and other kinds of acts of violence for years now. A voluntary organization, manned almost exclusively by orthodox religious persons, called Xesed Shel Emet ("True Grace"), is a quiet, efficient body of volunteers who arrive speedily to bombing location, with stretchers, bags, etc., and help in the removal of the bodies. In particular, they do the gruesome work of collecting detached body parts and identifying their owners. It is done for religious reasons, because orthodox Jewish faith has strict beliefs about corpse purity and the chances for resurrection when the messiah arrives.

Despite the debatable religious motivation, they are selflessly delivering "true grace" to the dead terror victims. The organization has never made political statements, and as far as I know, is not affiliated with any political party. Every TV broadcast from a terror bombing scene includes the XSE volunteers, in fluorescent vests and long beards, scooping up body parts and personal belongings into little bags, carrying corpses onto stretchers, etc.

A small news item on ynet (Hebrew) this morning reports that two XSE containers full of equipment were stolen in Jerusalem.

update: gaal was reminded of an older article about the XSE folks, that proves that they have been political, or at least that Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, an ultra-orthodox "field" leader, is involved with them, and that during the so-called "Defensive Wall" operation, the XSE people, like at least one hospital, showcased the bodies to the TV cameras, to emphasize the heinousness of "the Palestinians" (and not "the Palestinian terrorists"), thereby contributing to the rabid demonization of the Palestinian public in Israel in those days. This is reported in this Hebrew Ha'aretz item (regrettably, the web page itself only shows the current date, but gaal and I discussed the item in April 14th, so it must have been published then or a day before). That's deplorable, and Meshi-Zahav is a despicable man. But still, most of the volunteers just do their work, and I would not care to trade places with them.

And stealing their equipment is very, very low.

Current Mood: disgusted
Current Music: Leonard Cohen -- One of Us Cannot Be Wrong

(2 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:July 25th, 2002 02:24 am (UTC)

The equipment was found

The police, having given priority to the matter, found the two missing container in the yard of a KABLAN (contractor?), who had some falling out with the administration of Bnei Brak and decided to steal the containers, which were marked as belonging to the city. He claims he didn't know was in them.

Scum is under arrest, morning paper reports.
[User Picture]
Date:August 10th, 2002 02:06 pm (UTC)
Actually, XSE have not existed for a few years now - they refused to subjugate themselves to the police, and so have been denied admission to terror-attack scenes. The new organization that took over is called ZIHUI KORBANOT ASON (ZAKA), and is headed (not just involved with) by Meshi-Zahav.
Also, they are not very quiet - they are probably the ultra-orthodox society's best publicity at the moment (to the secular and orthodox publics, that is), and so are mentioned often in internal and external debats of the ultra-orthodox society.
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