Minister Takes Aim at 'Bodies' Exhibit

Isreal Official Objects to Preserved Cadavers

By JTA

Published August 17, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israel’s deputy health minister has reportedly asked the Attorney General to cancel an exhibition in Tel Aviv of preserved human bodies.

Yaakov Litzman, a leader in United Torah Judaism, a haredi political party, told Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein that Israeli law required bodies to be buried within 48 hours of death unless a government medical authority says otherwise, Israel Radio reported.

Litzman asked Weinstein to order the organizers to arrange for the burial of the bodies without further delay, according to the station.

“Bodies: The Exhibition” opened in Florida in 2005 and has since travelled to some 20 different cities in Europe and the Americas. It opened in a southern Tel Aviv arts compound in June. Tickets cost the equivalent of $13.

The exhibition features 20 body specimens, 260 organs and partial body specimens which show the skeletal, muscular, circulatory and respiratory systems.

Three justices of Israel’s Supreme Court ruled in June to allow the exhibition, but said that the “way the bodies were used [in the exhibition] appears to be problematic with implications on morals and values.”

Their ruling was on a petition filed by attorney David Schonberg. He had presented the court with a statement by Meir Lau, former Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, who had said he was “appalled” by the show because it “conflicts with basic human right for a dignified death.”

In 2006, the New York Times published an expose about the origin of the bodies used in the exhibition, which may have belonged to prisoners executed in China.

Organizers wrote a disclaimer on the exhibition’s website stating that they “cannot independently verify that they do not belong to persons executed while incarcerated in Chinese prisons.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Israelis are taking up the #IceBucketChallenge — with hummus.
  • In WWI, Jews fought for Britain. So why were they treated as outsiders?
  • According to a new poll, 75% of Israeli Jews oppose intermarriage.
  • Will Lubavitcher Rabbi Moshe Wiener be the next Met Council CEO?
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.