Hasmonean remains reinterred after Palestinian desecration of burial site

The remains were reinterred after they had been scattered by Palestinian farmers near Jericho.

By World Israel News Staff

A stone-setting ceremony took place on Monday at a special section of the Kfar Adumim Cemetery set aside by the Binyamin Regional Council. Human remains dating back to the Second Temple period that had been desecrated by the Palestinian Authority were reinterred.

The remains came from ancient burial caves on the outskirts of Jericho that were apparently part of the extensive burial grounds of the Hasmonean palace uncovered at the site.

The Hasmonean Kingdom was established after the Jews rose up against the Seleucid Empire during the 2nd century B.C.E. That successful revolt is remembered through the festival of Chanukah, celebrated this week.

Two groups, Regavim and its offshoot ‘Preserving the Eternal,’ marked the final resting place of the Hasmonean royal family. They said in a statement that the memorial stone “reaffirmed the unbreakable bond between the Jewish People, the Land of Israel, and Jewish history and heritage – the very things for which the Maccabees, members of the Hasmonean royal family buried in the Jericho Fortress, fought over 2 millennia ago.”

In April, 2019, Regavim’s field activities sparked a rescue mission when it discovered that the Palestinian Authority had issued permits for agricultural work resulting in the desecration of the ancient burial grounds at the Hasmonean Fortress of Jericho.

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They found the catacombs plundered, the sarcophagi stolen, and human remains that had been at rest there for over 2,000 years scattered around the site – which was being plowed and steamrolled.

Yakhin Zik, director of operations at Regavim, said at the time: “The loss of our archaeological record and the ongoing failure to protect and preserve our heritage is an incomprehensible disgrace. The government must approve additional manpower and create standards that will ensure the preservation of antiquities and the severe punishment of looters.”