PM Binyamin Netanyahu at Herzl's tomb 311.
(photo credit: Moshe Milner/GPO)
The Stella and Alexander Margulies Education Center was dedicated at a ceremony on Mount Herzl on Thursday night.
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar and World Zionist Organization Chairman Avraham Duvdevani were present.
Sa’ar spoke at the event, highlighting Theodor Herzl’s legacy and the importance of teaching it in the schools.
A representative from the World Zionist Organization explained, “The theme [of the ceremony] is how to get Herzl’s philosophy taught in a deeper way in the school system...People know that he was a state visionary,” but the goal is to dig deeper. “We hope that this museum and the presence of the minister of education at the center’s launch will serve to promote and teach more about Herzl’s vision and philosophy within the Israeli school system.”
She continued, “Herzl’s major works on Zionism, from what I know, are not studied in-depth in Israeli schools.
Students are not as familiar as they could be. Aside from slogans and symbols and knowing Herzl as the father of Zionism, Israeli schoolchildren should be studying his books.”
The dedication took place after the official annual state ceremony in
remembrance of Herzl, which was attended by President Shimon Peres,
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other top government officials.
The 1,000-sq.m. center, which stands adjacent to the Herzl Museum
(www.herzl.org), houses a library and an interactive exhibit, which the
museum hopes will draw researchers and students alike. The NIS 16.5
million building was erected by Yakov and Yoav Molcho and was funded in
large part by Marcus Margulies, a longtime supporter of the Jerusalem
Margulies, who hails from a prominent Zionist family from England, named the center after his parents.
Ruth Cheshin, president of the Jerusalem Foundation, also spoke at the
dedication ceremony, citing Herzl’s journal entries from his 1898 visit
to the city. “Through cultivation, it will be possible to transform
Jerusalem into a charming jewel,” quoted Cheshin. “All of its holiness
will be preserved within its walls, all of the new will spread out all
She then highlighted the success of the Herzl Museum and the new
education center as evidence that Herzl’s prediction had come true.
“We have made great efforts, and continue at our efforts, to realize Herzl’s will for the city.
The visions became a reality.
While Jerusalem of today is a complex and problematic city, it is also
the capital city of the Jewish state and of all of world Jewry, a city
of wisdom, of modernity, with the pulse of life beating within it.”
Finally, Cheshin focused on Marcus Margulies, the donor who made the
education center a reality. She praised his parents’ support of Israel
and Margulies’s efforts to honor their memory in such an important way.
“Accompanying Jerusalem and the work of the Jerusalem Foundation for
some years now, you should be proud of this splendid building carrying
the names of your parents, Stella and Alexander, who themselves were
active Zionists,” she said. “In this building, schoolchildren, soldiers
and students will learn about Herzl’s legacy and its realization in the
State of Israel.”