Chief Rabbi David Lau and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat led a ceremony to open Israel’s first Waldorf Astoria Hotel, in Jerusalem on Thursday, during which Lau affixed a mezuza at the entrance.

Approximately 100 people, including members of the Reichman family who own the hotel, attended.

Many haredi (ultra-Orthodox) friends of the Reichman family, Hilton executives from Israel and London, members of the tourist industry and journalists and photographers attended the ceremony.

Paul Reichman, who died last year, had always wanted to build in Jerusalem, said Dov Meyer, speaking on behalf of the Reichmans.

When the family was building Canary Wharf in London, they came to Jerusalem for weekends and selected Joseph Reichman to find a suitable property for the hotel.

The Reichmans formed IPC Jerusalem to acquire development rights for the property that was previously occupied by the Palace hotel and the adjacent Tax Museum.

In April 2008, IPC Jerusalem signed a contract with the Hilton Hotel Corp., which stated that HHC would manage the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Jerusalem.

The first guests of the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem are set to arrive in April, in time for Passover.

Guests are expected to fly in from several countries, and reservations by local individuals and organizations for functions for the months ahead “have exceeded all our expectations,” said general manager Guy Klaiman.

The first Israeli Hilton opened in Tel Aviv in 1965. A Jerusalem Hilton, now the Crowne Plaza, opened in 1975. The David Citadel, which opened as Hilton Jerusalem in 1998, changed management in 2001.

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