The Jerusalem Municipality, with the support of ultra-Orthodox Mayor Uri Lupolianski, plans to build the city’s first civil cemetery enabling the deceased to have a secular funeral free of charge. Construction of the cemetery is to begin in the coming months adjacent to the Givat Shaul cemetery on the outskirts of the city. It will include 18,000 graves. Up until recently, burials could only be conducted in a religious ceremony under the rabbinic authority. Now Jews are free to have funerals with music and be buried in crypts or as couples. Residents of the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea Shearim were shocked that the mayor, an Orthodox Jew, supported the new cemetery. “If someone wishes not to live his life as a Jew and not be buried as a Jew – he has a place,” Lupolianski said.
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