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The Jerusalem Post - Israel News
 
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Photo by: Marc Israel Sellem
A Bible museum for the biblical city
By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
12/01/2011
Project to build a site for the Bible in Jerusalem due in the coming years.
 
Jerusalem has long been a holy city, but until now it has not had a museum devoted to one of the central reasons that it is holy: the Bible. According to a decision by the Knesset on November 13, a site devoted to the Bible will be built in Jerusalem in the coming years.


“The Bible is where the Jewish People – in Israel and the Diaspora – was forged. The goals for its establishment are directed both inward toward Israeli society and toward the peoples of the world and the academic community,” the Knesset statement declared. The plan envisions a museum and conference center that will feature copies of the Bible translated into 2,000 languages – about one-third of the remaining languages in the world. “It will also feature artistic drawings and photographs that tell the stories of the Bible; statues will be placed in its courtyard. Visitors will be asked to note their favorite verses from the Bible.”

In announcing the decision, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stressed the importance of the Bible to the Jewish people and the necessity for a site in Jerusalem to honor it.

Amos Rolnik, head of International Projects at Biblevalley.org, is excited about the decision, which he played a part in. “Everything started 14 years ago for the 50th anniversary of Israel. I was asked to bring an original idea that would illustrate what Israel has brought to the world. So I announced a worldwide competition for the children of the world to paint the Bible. In charge of the competition was the former president of Israel, Ezer Weizman. Hundreds of thousands of paintings were submitted from 91 countries. Because of this program, a public NGO was founded, called Bible Valley. It is an NGO that created the idea for the International House of the Bible.”

For six years Bible Valley has been working on a project called The World Inscribes the Bible. According to Rolnik, 45 countries have already made contributions. The full books from these nations in different languages will be represented in the museum, to be called the International House of the Bible. Rolnik estimates that in Israel alone, 23,127 men and women will be part of inscribing one sentence of the Bible each for the new museum.

The project faces a long road ahead. It has gained support from Ronnie Bar-On and Binyamin Ben-Eliezer in the Knesset and is also supported by many influential ministers in the coalition, such as Yuli Edelstein, Moshe Kahlon and Stas Meseznikov.
However, the plan must make its way through the Knesset’s committees, be funded and find a suitable location in the city. •
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