Billionaire Lev Leviev wanted to be buried in Jerusalem so he has purchased no less than 100 burial plot for his family and friend.
It is not clear how Leviev made the purchase, but according to Channel 2, the Africa-Israel Investments controlling shareholder paid $9,000 for each plot. Something that the general public cannot do, even though the land belongs to the public.
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In Israel, the government made a deal with burial societies (Chevra Kadisha), the National Insurance Institute is supposed to finance the burial for citizens. Lack of burial space in Israel is forcing Israeli citizens wishing to be buried in a graveyard in Jerusalem, to pay a price established by law.
The law stipulates that a person can only purchase for himself, his wife and his parents during his lifetime. Documents obtained by Channel 2 show that Leviev, joined with the Bukharan community, to purchase the huge Jerusalem burial plot.
In order to carry out the deal, the burial society had to bypass the legal prohibition, and therefore commissioned a legal opinion in order to sidestep the law. Leviev possibly registering grave plots in the names of foreign citizens.
Har Hamnuchot in Jerusalem / Photo Guy Nardi, Ynet
According to Channel 2, some of the plots were registered in the names of citizens not yet born at the time of the purchase. Others had died and were buried elsewhere.
However , the Jerusalem Chevra Kadisha stated that they had acted lawfully and did not check the citizenship of those who claimed that they were foreign citizens. However they refused to give details as to who was involved in the payment, and how it was made the deal, only emphasizing that every plot was bought by a person who supplied full details.
The burial market in Israel totals NIS 500 million a year.
The Leviev group told Globes in response, “These accusations and conclusions are unscrupulous, false, malicious, and hateful, and have absolutely no connection to the truth. The stringent and modest criteria dictated by Hevra Kadisha applying to every plot on the site, which do not exist in many other place, apply without exception to all the graves on the site. Every action was coordinated with Hevra Kadisha in accordance with the regulations and instructions issued by the Hevra Kadisha itself, which to the best of our knowledge acted according to legal advice it received, and the proceeds and the purchases by the public that purchased plots on the site were made legally without anything improper.
“You have also chosen to ignore the controlling shareholder’s huge losses on his investment in Africa-Israel and the way he chose to behave when, in an attempt to bring the company back to prosperity, he injected hundreds of millions of shekels of his own money in a manner absolutely unprecedented in Israel.”