Tomb of Rambam to be Declared Heritage Site
By Elad Benari
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has instructed his office to add the tomb of the Rambam (Maimonides) in the city of Tiberias to the list of Israeli heritage sites.
The Rambam, who lived in Egypt in the 12th century, was one of the greatest halakhic authorities of all time. He was also the philosopher-author of Guide to the Perplexed, a scientist and royal physician to the Sultan. It became a common saying that “From Moses [the lawgiver] to Moses [Maimonides], there was no one like Moses”.
Netanyahu’s decision came following a visit to the city of Tiberias last week, during which he was given a tour of the tomb of Maimonides.
Netanyahu was especially impressed by what he saw at the path leading to the tomb. Seven pillars have been placed on either side of the path, and each pillar has the name of one of the 14 sections of the Mishne Torah, also called the Yad Hachazaka, the first compendium of halakhah organized according to topics and written by Maimonides. (Yad is the numberical equivalent of 14). It is one of the basic tools of Torah learning.
Naming the tomb of Rambam a heritage site will be done as part of a development program in the city of Tiberias, marking its 2000th anniversary. Netanyahu has also instructed Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar to examine the possibility of including visits to the tomb of Maimonides as part of the curriculum studied in schools.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said during the visit, “Maimonides was a philosopher, theologian, physician, astronomer, and a spiritual leader. His universal spirit is great and you cannot ignore his burial place. Maimonides is buried in Israel, in Tiberias, and we need to take care of his burial place.”
Last week, the government approved a NIS 145 million plan for tourism development of Tiberias.
The plan, which includes investment in the development of tourist sites, will feature construction of a promenade along Lake Kinneret – the Sea of Galilee.
Developers will also link Tiberias with the Christian tourist site at Capernaum, as well as other heritage sites in and around the city.
Grants of up to 28 percent of the investment will be provided to private entrepreneurs to encourage construction of new hotels, officials said.
The city, home to some 45,000 residents, is located on the western bank of Lake Kinneret and features a shore that stretches a bit more than seven and a half kilometers long.
Tiberias mayor Zohar Oved recently announced that the city plans to build a new school of pharmacy in the city, which will be named after the Rambam.