Yerushalayim’s burial society is plumbing new depths to devise funerary solutions to Israel’s shortage of space, and has broken ground on two experimental crypts near the entrance to the city.
The two 65-yard-long, 21-foot-high tunnels will be able to accommodate 300 bodies apiece once they’re completed in the coming three months.
The innovative solution to Israel’s limited land area available for cemeteries taps into a millennia-old Jewish tradition of rock-cut tombs, such as those found at the Roman-era town of Beit She’arim near Haifa.
Approximately 35,000 Jews are buried each year in Israel, a tenth of whom are interred in Yerushalayim, the report said.
The head of the Yerushalayim burial society told Haaretz that there is no Jewish legal restriction barring burial in such tunnels.
He said that the 22,000 additional graves planned for Yerushalayim‘s sprawling Har Hamenuchos cemetery in the long term will be constructed below ground.