The Interior Ministry gave their initial approval to a 9,000 square meter tourism center that will be located next to the Old City. The complex, called the Kedem Center, will include multiple floors of underground parking, an event hall, exhibits, a cafeteria, and other public facilities. It will be located in the Givati Parking Lot, which is currently the site of a large-scale excavations.
The Israel Antiquities Authority, the National Parks Authority, and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat all gave their blessing to the project at the District Committee meeting on Monday, which approved the plan for deposit, one of the first steps in the long approval process. Udi Ragones, the spokesman from the City of David, has stressed the dire need for parking in the area as well as a place to highlight the important historic finds in the area.
The building was condemned by left-wing activists, who claim that the building will erase the Arab history of the area. "We need to remember the balance between past and present, and the archaeological site is part of Silwan," said Yonathan Mizrachi of Emek Shaveh, a group of activist archaeologists who claim that the archaeological excavations in Silwan focus solely on Jewish history. "Part of building this complex is to ignore how it has impacted the residents and their lives," he said.
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