Israel investing millions into Jewish sites in Arab East Jerusalem 23Aug13 August 23, 2013

by Nir Hasson      -     Haaretz     -    22 August 2013

157159626The Israeli government and the Jerusalem municipality will be sinking millions more shekels into Jewish sites in East Jerusalem.

The two bodies will invest upwards of NIS 16 million in developing a national park at Ir David, the City of David, located in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem, and nearly NIS 150,000 for a mikveh in the Jewish neighborhood of Nof Tzion, located in the heart of the Arab quarter Jabal Mukkaber. The city will provide NIS 144,900 for that project.

The pro-settlement Elad organization runs the Ir David site.

According to the proposition which the city council’s financial committee is expected to approve at its upcoming meeting, the project will included “building wide walkways, archeological digging, and other development.” The project is also aimed at developing the Herodian era street, uncovered in recent years, underneath Silwan’s main thoroughfare. In addition, the project will include building a “functional model,” at an estimated cost of NIS 4 million, as well as a “video exhibit,” to cost NIS 9 million, and a “exhibition tunnel,” with a NIS 7 million price tag.

Half of the project’s cost would come from the Prime Minister’s office’s fund for national heritage sites. NIS 5 million will come from the Tourism Ministry, and the Jerusalem municipality is slated to add NIS 1.4 million. The rest of the funds, roughly NIS 3.6 million, will come from private donors.

Jerusalem Deputy Mayor and financial committee chairman, David Hadari welcomed the decision. “There will be no compromises concerning Jerusalem, we must continue to build and develop all parts of Jerusalem,” said Hadari.

At the same finance committee meeting, which is also slated to be the last meeting before municipal elections, the city is to approve building the mikvah in Jabal Mukkaber.

The Jerusalem municipality commented that the “Ir David site is one of the most popular sites in Jerusalem, and one of the most important in the world. The Tourism Ministry decided to convert some of the funds allocated to it by the municipality for the project, which had been earmarked for building more walkways at the site.” The city added, “There is no addition to the new budget that was not previously approved, and the finance committee will be notified of all progress.”

The Elad organization declined to comment.

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