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Burial outside of Israel

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Rabbi Jonathan Blass

24 Av 5763
Question
If a jew visiting Israel dies, is his or her body allowed to be sent to his country for burial. If not, then can the body be shipped back for reburial after a few years? If he or she is he victim of a terror attack and the body is dismembered can it be shipped for burial outside of Israel. What about Israeli jews and/or israeli residents? Can they be buried in another country?
Answer
Every Jew's country is the Land of Israel even if exile has forced him to live elsewhere (Shu"t Avnei Nezer Yoreh Deah 126 4). Your question, therefore, is whether the body of a Jew who dies while visiting his own country- Israel- can be transferred back into exile for burial. The halacha prohibits transferring a body from a city that has a Jewish cemetery except if it is to take the body from outside of Israel to bury it in the Land of Israel or to bury the man in proximity to the graves of his fathers or if there was an instruction- express or implied- from the deceased to be buried elsewhere (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 363 2). In most cases, therefore, it would be forbidden to remove the body of a Jew from Israel to bury him outside the country. In unusal circumstances, a halachic authority must be consulted.
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