Mount of Olives Cemetery 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
A new bill seeks to expand non-religious burial, to make it more convenient for those who do not want to be buried according to Jewish law.
MK Yoel Razbozov (Yesh Atid) proposed the legislation that would put civil, as opposed to religious, burial under the Interior Ministry's jurisdiction instead of the Religious Services Ministry.
The Interior Ministry deals with local authorities and planning, which includes land allocations, allowing it to speed up the process of establishing more civil cemeteries, Razbozov said.
There are 1,251 cemeteries in Israel, 12 of which are not religious. Twenty-one religious cemeteries have a section dedicated to civil burial.
The 1995 Alternative Burial Law guarantees the establishment of non-Orthodox cemeteries and the right to be buried in them.
The Yesh Atid MK explained that Jewish people and their non-Jewish relatives are often buried far from each other, making it difficult for their families to visit their graves.
“I don't want to go against religion, but there are some Jews who want a civil burial.
We need more non-religious cemeteries near Jewish cemeteries so everyone can be buried where he or she wants,” Razbozov said.