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David and Goliath might soon have a memorial worthy of their classic struggle - if the giant of bureaucracy can be overcome. Plans for a 10-meter-tall monument commemorating the biblical story were sent by the Interior Ministry to the final stages of approval on Tuesday.
"This site will be a symbol of spirit over physical strength," said ministry district planner Guy Kav-Venaki. "People go to places like Masada to commemorate the past, so why not here? Over the past thousands of years this story has become a symbol of good over evil. This is a story about our Jewish history and is not only an international symbol."
Kav-Venaki said the monument would sit at the edge of a hill overlooking the Ela Valley and would include a courtyard where ceremonies could be held.
The design for the monument was presented as a public contest for architects, and Kav-Venaki said he was surprised at the response he received: "I was expecting only about 10 submissions, but there were 48 that were judged by a committee."
The final design chosen is of the sling that David used to overcome the mighty Goliath.
There is already a commemoration of the biblical events in the British Park in the valley, with plaques bearing verses from I Samuel telling the tale, but Kav-venaki said his plans for the new monument were completely different.
"They are incomparable," said Kav-Venaki. "The British Park is small. This monument will be exactly where the battle took place and the idea is beautiful."
The plan must pass a public hearing before it can be built, and there is often opposition to projects that are located in green areas.
Prof. Vladimir Berglier, the father of the project, agreed that the ministry did not usually approve plans for construction outside built-up areas, but said that this project was an exception.
"We like to keep spaces open and don't like to have dots of construction," he said. "But the committee was persuaded that the monument can be a part of the forest and the open spaces around it."
The plans for the monument have been in the works for six years, according to Kav-Venaki, and now the emphasis is on raising funds needed to build it.
"The names of donors will be inscribed forever in the stone of the monument," he said. "Now only the money is needed, and then it can be built within two years."
This project is seen by Kav-Venaki as an important reminder of history and culture not only for the present generation, but for many more to come. "This is something beautiful that will be there for the generations." he said.
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