Three years after a cabinet decision to invest hundreds of millions of shekels
to preserve and upgrade significant Jewish and Zionist historical sites sparked
angry protest from the Palestinian Authority because a number of the sites were
over the Green Line, some 296 projects are being developed, cabinet secretary
Zvi Hauser said Monday.
Preserving important historical sites is
important in every country, and even more so in Israel because of the
significant challenges the country faces and the need for the society to
understand “where we came from and where we are going,” Hauser said at a press
“We are obligated to take what we received from our parents and
grandparents, and pass that on to our children and grandchildren – the same
cultural heritage we were passed,” he said, adding that “we did not come here
without any past, or any context.”
Of the 296 projects in the NIS 700
million program, 13 percent deal with the biblical period; 16% with the Second
Temple and Talmudic times; 12% with the Old Yishuv period, 18% with early waves
of immigration; 15% with later waves of immigration; and 26% with the beginning
of the state. Nine of 80 major projects are located in Judea and Samaria, and 16
others are in Jerusalem.
Among those projects that drew Palestinian ire
three years ago were initiatives in the capital’s City of David, the Cave of the
Patriarchs in Hebron, Tel Shilo, Sussiya and the Herodian archeological site
near Bethlehem. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas warned at the time
that the program would spark a “religious war” and “third
Hauser said another project is in the works as part of the
program – using a separate budget – that will involve an Einstein Museum on
Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus campus, to house the writings Albert Einstein
bequeathed to the university.
In addition to large projects like the
upgrade of Independence Hall in Tel Aviv and the restoration of the Montefiore
Windmill in Jerusalem, the program is giving money to some 100 smaller projects
around the country to upgrade them and make them more accessible to the public.
These projects include Ben-Gurion’s hut in Sde Boker, Haifa’s city museum, the
aliya museum in Zichron Ya’acov and the old Turkish train station at Elroi, near
Stay on top of the news - get the Jerusalem Post headlines direct to your inbox!