Deri Plans Substantial Improvements in Areas Around Kivrei Tzaddikim

YERUSHALAYIM -
Kever Yosef. Photo by Yaakov naumi / Flash90
Kever Yosef Hatzaddik. (Yaakov Naumi/Flash90)

Interior Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri wants to make it easier for visitors who travel to kivrei tzaddikim in Israel. He plans to upgrade the facilities around the kevarim, even installing digital information systems that visitors can use to get information on the personality buried at a specific site, his office said in a statement.

The proposals were made at a meeting the Shas Knesset faction held on the condition of kivrei tzaddikim, the statement said. While some kevarim, such as that of Rabi Meir Ba’al Haness in Teveriah and Kever Rashbi in Meron, get a great deal of attention – and funding to ensure that parking, access, facilities, and other features are able to handle the many thousands who visit on a regular basis – many other sites have been neglected. Rabbi Deri said during the meeting that he would make upgrading access and facilities at many of these “forgotten” sites a top priority of his administration.

“We must strive to ensure that the 2 million people who visit these holy places annually around the country are able to do so in comfort, and enjoy proper conditions and facilities,” the interior minister said. “Some sites receive temporary funding for upgrades during the period of a tzaddik’s hilula, but I believe that those upgraded experiences should be available year round.”

In addition to the physical upgrades, sites will get a digital upgrade as well. The minister plans to digitize information about tzaddikim buried at a particular site, providing information about their lives, background, activities, sefarim they wrote, etc. The technology “provides a wonderful opportunity to tell the public the stories of who these tzaddikim were, and what their legacy is,” Rabbi Deri added.