The Ministerial Committee on Burial toured the Yarkon Cemetery in Tel Aviv recently to get a close look at the progress in the construction of a new community mausoleum site. The new section of the cemetery will hold about 35,000 graves.
Minister of Religious Services Ya'akov Margi explained that the Gush Dan-greater Tel Aviv area would have faced a deep shortage in burial space were it not for the project. "We bury about 33,000 people a year in Jewish or civil burials, and about 30 percent of those are in the Gush Dan area," he said.
The new section will offer two types of burials. One has been named the "makhpela" burial and is intended for a couple, one of whom is interred above the other. This burial takes place on the ground, or on the top floor of the new structures.
The second type has been named the Sanhedrin burial, also known as a community mausoleum. The new section of the cemetery will have 27 passages with community mausoleums on the sides, and makhpela-type plots on the ground and the roof.
This type of burial in storeys saves real estate space but is expensive to build. The Ministry of Religions will pay about NIS 70M out of the total cost of NIS 180-190M for the project. The rest will come from the Chevra Kadisha burial society.
The graves will all be contained in three buildings, which will have four stories each and include elevators and computerized information stations to help locate the required burial site. Each building will hold over 10,000 deceased.
Justice Minister Yaakov Ne'eman and Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman were among those who took part in the tour.