While some officials have expressed solidarity and empathy with the plight of wheelchair-ridden individuals, no one really has a plan to accommodate them in the nation’s cemeteries, making it virtually impossible for them to visit a grave of a parent, loved one or friend.
For Yossi Twister, this erev Rosh Hashanah was particularly difficult since when he arrived at the rear entrance to the Herzliya Cemetery, where he usually leaves his vehicle, he soon realized that the path was blocked and he could not take his usual route to his parent’s kever.
Yossi explained that new construction on addition plots has resulted in the construction of a fence and the site now presents many obstacles, leaving him pained as he turned his wheelchair around and headed home.
The situation in many cemeteries is the same but there does not seem to be any solution on hand. Religious councils received an increased number of complaints ahead of Rosh Hashanah as disabled people were unable to visit the kevarim of their loved ones. Ministry of Religious Affairs officials confirm the increase in the number of complaints before Rosh Hashanah.
Keren Sharoni, a spokesperson for the ministry also acknowledged the situation, explaining the critical shortage of space in cemeteries is partially to blame. Avigdor Ochana, the director-general of the ministry, also acknowledged the problem, promising to investigate what can be done to alleviate the situation. Herzliya Cemetery officials explain they are not to blame. They are not the decision-makers and inquiries must be directed to the Ministry of Religious Services or the Herzliya City Hall.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)