The controversial Bodyworlds exhibition featuring plastinated corpses has been denounced as “an insult to human dignity” by Orthodox groups trying to ban it from being shown at a museum in Haifa.
The exhibition is due to open at Haifa’s National Science Museum over Pesach. This will be its first showing in Israel since it started touring the world in 1995.
The Chief Rabbi of Israel, Yonah Metzger and leading local rabbonim have issued rulings banning followers from visiting it.
A group of Orthodox lawyers and doctors have petitioned the Haifa District Court, calling for a ban. Dr Aviad Hacohen explained that “there are democratic and legal objections to this exhibition. There is a legal obligation to bury dead bodies and also a prohibition from importing bodies of unclear provenance into the country.”
ZAKA, the Orthodox organisation that collects bodies from terror scenes and disaster areas is planning a series of protests against the exhibition. “Respect of the dead has always been a fundamental value for the Jewish people,” said ZAKA Chairman, Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, “and we don’t have to bring in to Israel everything that they come up with abroad.”
The museum says that the exhibition will “educate the public towards living a healthy lifestyle”.
Haifa Mayor Yonah Yahav added: “there is no reason that the citizens of Israel should not see a leading exhibition. It was shown in Paris and New York and why should Haifa be different?”