Underground city for the dead in Jerusalem

The project is expected to cost $50 million, financed privately by Jews living overseas (File photo: AP)

With Jerusalem’s Jewish cemeteries virtually full, the ability to meet the demand on supply has led to a novel idea in burials that involves digging even further underground, U.S. daily the Washington Post has reported.

Obtaining a burial spot for Jews in the holy city of Jerusalem has become so limited in recent years that it has literally become big business.

And now a project is well underway digging catacombs in Jerusalem’s Mount Olive. The project will create new vaults where Israeli Jews can be buried using their national insurance.

Several Jewish cemeteries, like Sheikh Badr cemetery and Sanhedria Cemetery, have no more room for burials. Others including Mount Herzl cemetery are reserved for high profile figures and military.

In a bid to tackle the shortage, Jerusalem Jewish Community Burial Society agreed with a construction company to build a series of underground tunnels on three tiers including 22,000 crypts.

The project is expected to cost $50 million, financed privately by Jews living overseas.

The catacombs will be lit, air-conditioned, decorated with stone engravings, and have elevators.

Burial in Jerusalem is not only appealing to the 6 million Jews living locally, many of the 8 million living abroad also plan for their burials there.

This included four Jewish men killed in a terrorist shooting that took place in Paris around the time of the Charlie Hebdo attack in January. The four men were buried in Palestine at the request of family members.

Jews from around the world buy plots of land in the holy city because they believe that that they will be buried in the land where the resurrection is believe will take place.

These burial plots have become more expensive with time, with some said to cost up to $30,000, according to news channel CNN.

The Washington Post reported that burial rituals and the ceremony, can reach a further $10,000.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:44 - GMT 06:44