Judge refuses plea for Israel reburial

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Judge refuses plea for Israel reburial

A widow’s long campaign to have her husband’s remains exhumed and reburied in Israel has been thwarted by a top judge

An old Jewish headstone in a cemetery
An old Jewish headstone in a cemetery

Joseph Charazi was buried in a cemetery in Cheshunt more than 20 years ago, but his wife Anne claims his dying wish was to be buried in his homeland. However four of his six children have “vehemently opposed” the exhumation, London’s High Court heard.

The Adath Yisroel Burial Society, which administers the cemetery, has repeatedly refused to consent to the remains being dug up.

Sam Grodzinski QC, for the society, said there were concerns the process would be “unwholesome, undignified and demeaning”.

Judge Leigh-Ann Mulcahy QC denied Mrs Charazi permission to mount a full judicial review challenge to the society’s stance.

Earlier, the widow’s barrister, Oliver Hyams, said Mr Charazi was born in Israel and fought as a soldier for the country. During his life, he had made it clear to his wife that “like many religious Jews, he wanted to be buried in  Israel”.

At the time of his death in May 1963, he was disabled following a road accident and lived solely on the charity of the Jewish community in London. Hyams said it was only Anne and their daughter, Tova, who accompanied Mr Charazi to hospital. On the day of his death, mother and daughter claim he said: “When my time comes, I want to be buried in Israel.” But the barrister said arranging this was impossible at the time because his widow could not afford it.

Mrs Charazi and Tova moved to Israel in 2011 and were now in a position to pay for the removal of the remains. She wanted to “fulfil her husband’s wishes” and to know that when she passed away “she will be buried next to him”.

Hyams argued the burial society was acting “irrationally” in refusing consent to the exhumation, but Grodzinski said there was deep concern about exhuming a body that had been buried for more than 20 years.

The judge ordered Mrs Charazi to pay the burial society £5,000 in legal costs.


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