The proper interment of human remains of Jews from the Second Temple Era whose ancient graves near Jericho were desecrated by Arab looters was finally concluded Monday with the unveiling of a special commemorative tombstone.
The circle that was closed began last year when Regavim’s field activities launched a unique rescue mission with volunteers for the “Preserving the Eternal” project who acted to save the remains of the Hasmonean royals after the Palestinian Authority issued permits for agricultural work resulting in the desecration of the ancient burial grounds at the Hasmonean Fortress of Jericho.
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.
The ancient burial caves on the outskirts of Jericho date back to the Second Temple era and are part of the extensive burial grounds of the Hasmonean palace uncovered at the site.
Regavim alerted the IDF’s Civil Administration, and a rescue mission to collect the desecrated remains and reinter them at the Jewish cemetery in the nearby Jewish settlement of Kfar Adumim was set in motion. Hundreds of Israelis participated in the unusual funeral in May 2019.
Finally, in a moving and powerful stone-setting ceremony, the operation concluded at the special section of the Kfar Adumim Cemetery set aside for the Kohanim of Jericho by the Binyamin Regional Council.
Regavim and Preserving the Eternal marked the final resting place of the Hasmonean royal family, and “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 two millennia ago.”