State Comptroller Eliezer Goldberg has stated that the
Religious Affairs Ministry is a complete failure in all that
pertains to its handling of burials in Israel. Speaking in
the Knesset last week, Goldberg added that despite serious
findings in last year's report on this issue, nothing has
been done to correct shortcomings which should have been
attended to immediately.
The Registrar of Nonprofit Organizations, Amiram Bogat, said
that despite recommendations by his superiors to dismantle
the Tel Aviv Chevra Kadisha, he now plans to postpone such a
step until the end of current deliberations on this issue in
the High Court. He said that he also plans to try to reach
agreement with the Minister of Religious Affairs regarding a
number of additional burial places.
Director of the Tel Aviv Chevra Kadisha, Yehoshua Yishai,
said that since his appointment to head the organization he
has begun to correct all of the shortcomings of the Chevra
Kadisha in Tel Aviv.
At the same time, the Chevra Kadisha of Tel Aviv is warning
about a serious lack of burial plots in the Dan region. A
thorough mapping made by the company indicates that in all of
the cemeteries under the authority of the Chevra Kadisha of
Tel Aviv, only 1560 burial spots remain.
Director general of the Chevra Kadisha Yehoshua Yishai sent
an urgent letter to Minister Chaim Ramon, head of the
Ministerial Committee for Burial Issues. In it Yishai warns
about the impending catastrophe and the devastating results
of the situation which will ensue if the development plans of
the Chevra Kadisha are not immediately approved.
The Tel Aviv Chevra Kadisha serves the entire Gush Dan
region, which numbers about a million-and-a-half people.
Every year, it deals with 8500 burials. It is responsible for
six cemeteries, three of which are classed as "closed" and
are inoperative: the Yaffo, the Trumpeldor and the Nachlas
In his letter to Minister Ramon, Yishai presents details in
respect to the remaining cemeteries of the Chevra Kadisha. He
writes: "In Kiryat Shaul 460 places remain, in Cholon 100 and
in the Yarkon cemetery 1000. Preparing the reserve ground in
the Yarkon cemetery, which in any case includes only 5200
more burial plots, is being delayed due to an administrative
order issued by the Petach Tikvah municipality to cease work
on this area."
Yishai notes: "In order to grapple with the lack of burial
spaces in the Dan region, the Chevra Kadisha, like other
large Chevros Kadisha in the country such as those in Haifa
and Jerusalem, has developed a special method for taking
maximal advantage of the area designated for burial. It has
also developed addition methods such as burial on levels and
"Despite the development of these methods and the maximal use
made of the areas slated for cemeteries, the Chevra Kadisha
has encountered administrative difficulties which are
delaying the continuation of the development of the lands in
"Recently," writes Yishai, "the Petach Tikvah municipality
issued an administrative order to cease development work on
the plots in the Yarkon cemetery area. The meaning of the
order is that within a month, burials will cease to take
place in this cemetery.
"Under such circumstances, the Chevra Kadisha will not be
able sell a living couple a plot beside their deceased
relatives," Yishai writes.
In the letter, copies of which were sent to the Prime
Minister, the Religious Affairs and Interior Ministers and
the mayors of cities in the Dan region, Yishai asks that
Minster Ramon intervene in the issue, and convene an urgent
meeting of the Ministerial Committee which he heads, and find
a solution to this pressing problem.