Tags: Israel | Jerusalem | catacombs | burial | space

Catacombs Return as Jerusalem Runs Out of Burial Space

By    |   Wednesday, 20 May 2015 05:14 PM

Burial space in Jerusalem is dwindling, opening the doors for traditional catacombs, an underground network for graves, the Washington Post reports.

A new, $50 million, subterranean "necropolis" is under construction under a mountain, creating space for three tiers of tombs to be sold as private burial blots, the Post reports.

Catacombs date to the days of Jesus, 2000 years ago. Biblical accounts of his death include his burial in a cave after he was crucified and before his resurrection.

The need for more cemeteries is "dire," the Post reports, citing popular burial spots around the city, including the famed Mount of Olives, where tensions with Palestinians have made security concerns an issue.

"We need our land for the living and not for the dead," Hananya Shachar, who directs the Jerusalem Jewish Community Burial Society, told the Post of the limited space.

Non-profit burial societies function in Israel to help families with funerals and selecting plots, the Post noted, adding that going underground for burial spots makes space nearly unlimited, as soil in the area makes for easy digging.

New underground crypts will be surrounded by tunnels complete with "soft lighting, beautiful stonework and an airy, dry, cool and peaceful climate," the Post said.

Jewish Israelis get their plots free through a national insurance program. But many Jews desire to return to Jerusalem for burial. Funds to complete the underground construction are being raised by presale of the plots, the Daily Mail reports.

Phase one of the new underground burial project's construction — 22,000 crypts — is predicted to fill up within seven years, the Jewish Press reports.

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Burial space in Jerusalem is dwindling, opening the doors for traditional catacombs, an underground network for graves, the Washington Post reports.
Jerusalem, catacombs, burial, space
265
2015-14-20
Wednesday, 20 May 2015 05:14 PM
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