The cabinet decided, on Sunday, to establish a government company, under the Tourism Ministry, to oversee the development and running of the site containing the Tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai in the Galilee town of Meron, near Tzfat. The company will have a three-year budget of 27 million shekels to develop lighting, parking and other services at the site, whose half a million visitors a year make it second only to the Western Wall of the Temple in Jerusalem in terms of Jewish religious attractions. The ministry has already invested resources and funds in recent years to improve the site.
There were protests to the move, over the weekend, in hareidi religious circles, who fear it will bring a religiously undesirable element to the site. More protests are expected.