The Old Jewish Man and the Sea: Israeli Granted Permission to be Buried Under Water

Following a five year struggle, the District Court of Tel Aviv approved an unusual request on Thursday: to allow an Israeli citizen to be buried at sea, Israel’s Walla reported.

Shlomo Avni, an 84-year-old resident of Givatayim, made history by becoming the first Israeli citizen to be granted permission to have his body released into the sea after he has passed away.

Avni specifies in his will the manner in which he seeks to be laid to rest, noting that since he has “…subsisted on the flora and fauna of the earth, when I die I want to provide sustenance to the same animals and plants that allowed me to live.”

His initial request was summarily thrown out of court, Walla said.

However, aided by attorney Eyal Beserglick, Avni did not give up on his dream of feeding the Mediterranean’s sea-life after slipping the surly bonds of earth. Beserglick argued that equating a decomposing human body to waste is both insulting and inaccurate. Avni’s legal eagle also pointed out that there’s historical precedent to people being buried at sea, Walla reported.

The Special Inter-Departmental Committee on Marine Pollution that had been assigned to hear Avni’s case voted to grant his final request on condition that his subterranean send off is conducted outside of Israel’s territorial waters, Walla said.

The District Court of Tel Aviv’s acceptance of the Committee’s decision on Thursday made it legally binding.

Read other articles by the Algemeiner’s Jerusalem Correspondent Gidon Ben-Zvi here.

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