OTTAWA — A recent ruling by the Supreme Court of Israel is an encouraging win for human rights. Long-time Israeli transgender activist May Peleg tragically committed suicide on Nov. 14. Her will specified that she should be cremated.
Peleg’s family, who were Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox Jews), filed a petition to prevent that, insisting on a traditional Jewish burial for their “son.” On Nov. 18, the Jerusalem District Court denied her family’s petition. They appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court, which today affirmed the lower court’s decision, clearing the way for May Peleg’s wishes to be honored.
While this is an encouraging move — the rejection of religious interference by a court in a part of the world where religion is a powerful and pervasive influence — this story is not a happy one. Regardless of her legal victory, May Peleg was driven to suicide and nothing can take away that tragic fact.