Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

25 Sivan 5762 - June 5, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Tel Aviv Chevra Kadisha Will not Charge for Burial of Terror Victims
by A. Cohen

he Tel Aviv-Jaffa District Chevra Kadisha has decided to provide terror victims free plots at the Cholon Cemetery, setting aside a special section in coordination with Bituach Leumi.

A similar section was set up at the Yarkon Cemetery in Tel Aviv based on a recommendation by Chevra Kadisha Director Yehoshua Yishai. The Chevra Kadisha management also decided to accept a recommendation by Religious Affairs Minister Asher Ochana to refund the money paid by the families of the four victims killed in the attack in Rishon Letzion and buried at the Cholon Cemetery. The Chevra Kadisha's decision only applies to residents of South Tel Aviv, Bat Yam and Cholon.

Two years ago Bituach Leumi declared the Cholon Cemetery "closed," a classification that requires the Chevra Kadisha to charge for all burial plots there since Bituach Leumi no longer pays for them. In light of the large demand for burial at the Cholon Cemetery even for a fee, Chevra management decided burial rights would be granted only to those whose spouses or children are already interred at the cemetery.

Last month the Chevra Kadisha completed work on additional burial plots at the Cholon Cemetery. Even those who do not have a family member buried at the cemetery can purchase plots in the new section, but the price is higher.

Gush Dan residents are not charged for burial at the Yarkon Cemetery, but the Chevra Kadisha is required to charge for plots purchased by the living for their eventual interment since this -- along with charges for plots in closed cemeteries -- is the only way for the Chevra Kadisha to fund the development of new plots.

"There is no government funding for the development of burial plots," says Yishai. "We are between a rock and a hard place, for only by charging for the purchase of plots in advance by the living and the purchase of plots in closed cemeteries can we ensure smooth, continued operations in burying the dead of Gush Dan. On one hand we are required to provide a government service that was supposed to be handled by the state--the development of burial plots and cemeteries--and on the other hand we are expected, and we also feel obligated, not to charge payment in events of this type and other similar cases. In effect we are becoming state tax collectors, and on more than one occasion we have been unjustly criticized for this."


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