Rashbi's gravesite in Meron, during happier days
Rashbi's gravesite in Meron, during happier days Flash 90

Following the refusal of insurance companies to insure the "Committee of Five" which runs the gravesite of Rashbi (Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai) in Meron, the site's manager, Eli Friend, has announced that he can no longer accept responsibility for the site, and intends to close it, starting this Thursday.

"Before the disaster, the Committee of Five was continuously insured, throughout all the years, and there were no issues on this matter," Friend wrote in a letter to Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana (Yamina).

The letter, which was published Monday morning on Ynet, continued: "An absurd situation has been created, that because of an event which occurred on the day when the State of Israel ran the site - the Committee of Five is paying the price, and now most of its members are at risk of being sued in personal damages suits, if G-d forbid anyone should be harmed at the site."

"The Committee of Five made and makes great efforts to find a solution to the problematic situation which has been created," he added, noting that despite a recent meeting with Kahana to discuss the issue, the problem has not yet been solved.

"Due to this situation, I must inform you that if there is not a written insurance solution for the Committee of Five, the Committee will be forced to announce the closure of Rashbi's gravesite, starting midnight Wednesday."

In November, it was reported that since the Meron disaster earlier this year, insurance companies have also begun to refuse to cover other holy sites for the days on which major events, attended by tens of thousands, are held.