Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

5 Av 5761 - July 25, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Lights Out at Meiron
by Yated Ne'eman Staff

The masses of people who came to Meiron on erev rosh chodesh Av to pray at the grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai found the gravesite in a state of total darkness, as a result of a decision by the Religious Affairs Ministry to cut off all electricity. The Electric Company explained that this was a matter of pikuach nefesh, since it was feared that the entire electric system was in imminent danger of failure. On Shabbos electricity was restored but it could not be determined if permanent arrangements had been made.

Visitors to the site protested the decision, noting that the Ministry should have made alternative provisions, especially since so many people frequent the site during this period.

On Thursday, 28 Tammuz, Yated Ne'eman reported that the gravesite of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai was completely dark, due to orders issued by the Religious Affairs Ministry to cut off electrical current for safety reasons. Ministry Director Moshe Shimoni said that he was supposed to arrive at the site on Thursday, but he postponed his visit. The Religious Affairs Ministry approved the order to cut off the electricity, noting that it was preferable to cut off the electricity than to endanger human lives. The Ministry spokesman said that the Ministry is planning to devise a solution for safe, adequate lighting along with the hekdeishim that have interests in the site.

On Thursday, although the site teemed with people, an alternative had yet to be found. The many people arriving at the gravesite protested the inefficiency of those responsible. They were astounded by the failure to take action on so important an issue at a site that is considered the second most important tourist spot in the country, after the Kosel.

"The problem with the electricity dates back thirty years. Why have they suddenly now cut off the electricity at a time when so many people frequent the site?" people asked.

Chairman of the Knesset Internal Affairs Committee Rabbi Moshe Gafni received many complaints on the issue. During the day, he spoke with Religious Affairs Ministry personnel and received the impression that the matter would be taken are of. When he learned that the many people who visited the grave found utter darkness, he decided to call an urgent meeting of the Internal Affairs Committee, at which the overall problems at Meiron will be discussed. Attention will be paid to the many shortcomings that surfaced during the preparations for Lag B'omer, such as the congested approaches to the site and parking lots. The responsibility of various bodies such as the Center for Holy Sites, the Meiron Administration and the various hekdeishim will also be discussed.

"It is inconceivable that there are such blatant shortcomings, although so many elements are involved at Meiron. Where have all the funds gone that were earmarked for use at that site?" Rabbi Gafni asked. "We have to put an end to these problems, and to make certain that the gravesite at Meiron will be administered like every other important site."


All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.