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Israeli Supreme Court Orders The Bodies Exhibition to Close

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Published on Oct 17, 2012

The Bodies Exhibition, which uses plastinated human bodies, has been taking place in Tel Aviv since May 21st. Human rights activists have been protesting the exhibit, claiming the bodies are probably from murdered Chinese.

On Sunday, the Israeli Supreme Court ordered the exhibition to close with a deadline October 9th.

The Judges stated in the ruling:
"There is no disagreement that the kind of conduct we see in front of us violates human dignity, including the dignity of the dead."

Protesters showed their disappointment at the court's decision on Sunday. They demanded the exhibition close immediately, not just twelve days before the original closing date of October 21st.

Among them was Israeli Parliament member Dr. Michael Ben Ari.

[Dr. Michael Ben Ari, Member of Israeli Parliament]:
"Unfortunately, the high court in Israel, in the state of Israel, in the State of the Jewish people, disappointed us badly by making a decision that would be acceptable to everyone. Their closing date is just a few days before the exhibit's original closing date. [The decision] should say clearly: 'This Exhibition is an abomination. These bodies must be buried respectfully and these terrible actions of trading people, trading bodies must stop.'"

The Bodies Exhibition is of a US based company called Premier Exhibitions.

Its New York show posted a disclaimer, saying the exhibit displays human remains that were received by the Chinese bureau of police, and may originally be from Chinese prisons.

The head of the "Jewish Leadership" movement, Moshe Feiglin believes some people were probably murdered for this exhibit.

[Moshe Feiglin, Head of "Jewish Leadership"]:
"In this case human beings that were created in God's image are being treated like pieces of meat in the market. It's not surprising at all that these people...came from a communist country—an atheist country...I have no doubt that at least some of them were also murdered for the sake of this exhibition, or at least there is a strong suspicion that this is the case...And [the company] trying to hide behind the certificates of the Chinese communist regime, saying that these people donated their bodies for this horror, is cynical and ridiculous."

The concern is that the bodies were not donated by consent but were probably from executed prisoners—including prisoners of conscience.

Israeli Lawyer David Schonberg who had applied to the high court, commented on the ruling in an email to NTD. He says, (quote) "The Court's decision is a real victory, even though I would like to see the exhibition closed today."

The three Judges wrote in their ruling:
"We order the closure of the exhibition no later then October 9th, 2012. No further extension of the exhibition will be allowed. We assume that everything will be done, including by the customs authorities, so that this same situation does not happen again."

The Exhibition's Public Relations Officer, Ms. Sinaya Mizrachi said the court's ruling to let the exhibition run until October 9th, is a sign that freedom of speech is protected in Israel.

The protesters hope that the court's decision will set a precedent and stop the exhibition from coming to Israel again. They also hope this sentiment will spread to other countries and prevent it from being held anywhere in the world.

NTD News, Israel

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