Twenty-one years after the Knesset passed a law guaranteeing a civil burial for any citizen who wished to have one, this elementary right is far from being applied.
The Religious Services Ministry takes pride in the fact that 20 cemeteries across Israel have a license for performing civil burial, but in most of these only local people may be buried.
In an attempt to overcome this shortage, people wishing to be buried in a ceremony free of the Orthodox establishment must pay out of pocket for transporting the body to one of the few places permitting civil burial, often far from the deceased's home or that of his family.
Financing for the transportation of the deceased is conditional on the civil cemetery being outside the jurisdiction of the local town or council, and on there being no fees collected for the burial.
The Orthodox community's claim that there is "No demand" for civil burial relies on a systematic drying up of all other options, both in terms of budgets and ideology.
With civil burial, too, there are scant budgets and endless foot-dragging in allocating land.
The 1996 law regarding civil burial safeguards the right of all citizens to be buried in accordance with their worldview in a cemetery reasonably close to home.
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