Litzman demands funds to make Rachel's Tomb safe for visitors

By MATTHEW WAGNER
September 19, 2006 00:48

Construction at the site on the northern outskirts of Bethlehem will be completed on the eve of Rosh Hashana.




Although the portion of the security barrier protecting Rachel's Tomb is set to be completed before Rosh Hashana, visitors will still need to use bullet-proof vehicles to travel there unless Knesset Finance Committee Chairman MK Ya'acov Litzman succeeds in convincing Finance Ministry clerks and the police to provide increased security. "The issue of funding additional security at the tomb has come up since the transfer of responsibility for Rachel's Tomb from the IDF to the police," Litzman said Monday. "I've met with Treasury officials and police to try to work out an arrangement. However, the police have many other obligations. We'll have to wait and see." Construction at the site on the northern outskirts of Bethlehem will be completed on the eve of Rosh Hashana, according to Defense Ministry Director-General Gabi Ashkenazi. The holiday starts Friday evening. Even after the barrier is completed, police intend to insist on beefed-up manpower as a condition for allowing visitors to travel to the site without using bullet-proof vehicles. Many religious Jews visit Rachel's Tomb before the holiday. According to tradition, the biblical matriarch Rachel conceived on Rosh Hashana.


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