The Antiquities Authority announced Tuesday that it would construct the Middle East’s largest archeological library in Jerusalem.
The library, to be called The Mandel National Library for the Archeology of Israel, is to house nearly 150,000 volumes, including 500 rare books and over 1,000 periodicals, the authority said.
The adjacent Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel National Archeological Archives is to contain the authority’s archive as well as maps, permits, plans and publications of excavations from the British Mandate period through today, serving researchers and the public.
Both buildings, made possible by a donation from the Cleveland-based philanthropic Mandel Foundation, are to be part of the authority’s Schottenstein National Campus for the Archeology of Israel, currently under construction.
The 35,000-square-meter campus, designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie, is scheduled to be completed in April 2016 and will serve as a visitor center for the Antiquities Authority, as well as its official headquarters.
The complex, to be located on Museum Hill, adjacent to the Israel Museum and overlooking the Hebrew University Givat Ram Campus, is to house nearly 2 million archaeological objects, including 15,000 Dead Sea scrolls.
Additionally, the campus will feature viewable conservation and restoration laboratories, an auditorium, special study galleries, an archeological education center and rooftop exhibition gardens.
Antiquities Authority director- general Shuka Dorfman extolled the planned library as unprecedented.
“We see the Mandel National Library for the Archeology of Israel and Mandel Archives as a unique magnet and beacon for archeological, historical and Israel studies – a center of learning, research and knowledge,” Dorfman said.
“The campus is the largest and most important project to be established in Jerusalem this decade. Through its generosity, the Mandel Foundation has helped preserve and make more accessible archeology and the cultural heritage of the Land of Israel.”
Morton L. Mandel, the foundation’s chairman and CEO, also lauded the new facility.
“We welcome the opportunity to support the Antiquities Authority in its mission to excavate, research, conserve and educate the public about the archeological and historical heritage of the Land of Israel spanning the past 10,000 years,” he said. “We hope the Mandel National Library for the Archaeology of Israel and the Mandel Archives will serve as a source of inspiration and learning for the public at large and for today’s leaders as they explore the past of the Land of Israel.”
According to the foundation, its primary mission is to “provide outstanding leadership for the nonprofit world.”
To that end, it established the Mandel School for Educational Leadership in 1990, which to date has graduated close to 400 graduates.
In the past year, the foundation has donated tens of millions of dollars to institutions including the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Brandeis University and Case Western Reserve University.