Thousands are expected for the annual pilgrimage to Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem for the anniversary of the Biblical Matriarch's passing this month. Committee Chairman and Member of Knesset David Azoulay (Shas Party) made many recommendations including less expensive bus fare and extensions for bus transfers, as well as preparations for the actual site of the Tomb. The meeting took place at the site and was attended by several Members of Knesset.
In recent years the amount of visitors to the holy site has risen dramatically leading to increased bus service. Excluding the tomb complex which including a synagogue and study hall, the city of Bethlehem has been under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority since the mid 1990s.
MK Yulia Shamalov-Berkovich (Kadima Party) spoke with great emotion stating it was her first visit to Rachel's Tomb in 30 years. She said she was "shocked by the high walls on either side of the complex." In recent years the historic domed building has been surrounded by concrete and barbed wire. MK Shamalov-Berkovich said she thought it was a shame more Israelis did not visit the site and hoped it would be more of a spiritual connection and less of a political issue.