The serious shortage of burial space in central Israel is set to be resolved by the allocation of land for a new cemetery that will eventually include 138,000 gravesites. The new Afek Cemetery will be established on 238 dunams of land outside Rosh Ha’ayin in central Israel.
In Israel, all citizens are guaranteed a free burial and plot – except that the plot is not necessarily in the ground of a traditional cemetery, because of a shortage of burial space. In-ground burial in a private plot can cost tens of thousands of shekels in many cities, and the shortage of burial sites has led to the construction of alternative burial sites, including mausoleums and manufactured underground caves.
Despite the expense, in-ground burial remains the most popular option – and the new cemetery should help many families to bury their loved ones in the traditional manner, said Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, who developed the plan with Religious Affairs Minister Rabbi David Azoulay.
“This is a very important issue,” said Deri at a meeting of the Housing Cabinet, which ratified the plan. “We get many requests from families for burial sites that are just not available. We were able to forge an agreement between the Jewish National Fund and the Rosh Ha’ayin Municipality for this plan, which should suffice the needs for burial for the next fifty years.”