Jerusalem Plans a Face-Lift For 2017, 50 Year Jubilee For Capital’s Unification

Billions to be spent on projects, including massive visitors center at Western Wall, a fertility center, upgrading transportation infrastructure and more.
• “We are moving full steam ahead in Jerusalem,” PM  Netanyahu said at the cabinet meeting, warning that the opposite, a division of the city, would restore “barbed wire & snipers.”

 

The government announced major construction projects in Jerusalem on Tuesday during a special cabinet session marking the 48th anniversary of the city’s reunification.

The Western Wall will see a new visitors center built over the next few years – Photo: iStock

At the meeting, which was held at the Israel Museum, the cabinet approved the construction of a large visitors center in the Western Wall area, to be inaugurated in 2017 when the city marks 50 years since reunification following the 1967 Six-Day War. “A five-year plan will be formulated on upgrading infrastructures and encouraging visits to the Western Wall plaza including, continued development of the Western Wall plaza and tunnels, the preservation of archaeological finds, upgrading transportation infrastructure, and expanded educational activity for students and soldiers,” read the cabinet’s decision, which was posted on the Prime Minister’s Office website. “The full plan will be submitted for cabinet approval within two weeks,” it continued.

The ministers also decided to make the Prime Minister’s Office in charge of the Jerusalem affairs portfolio and to allocate billions of shekels over the next five years to help revamp the city. In addition, the ministers decided to establish a new international fertility center in the city. The center would be run in coordination with Hadassah Medical Center and Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

The cabinet also decided that the 20th Maccabiah Games, set for July 2017, would be held in Jerusalem. “We are moving full steam ahead in Jerusalem,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the meeting. He then reiterated his pledge to keep Jerusalem united. “We do not wish to go backwards, and those who speak with nostalgia about those days apparently do not live here. We will not go back to a divided city, a torn city, a city with barbed wire fences and snipers on the walls,” he said. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who helped devise the construction plans, took part in the meeting, during which he handed Netanyahu a special gift: a montage featuring Netanyahu’s sketch of the Old City walls alongside the sites that would be renovated.

The gift Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat gave to PM Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, featuring the premier’s sketch of the Old City walls

Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Uri Ariel marked Jerusalem Day in his own unique way by tweeting U.S. President Barack Obama. “@POTUS welcome! Happy Jerusalem Day! in case u didn’t hear PM Netanyahu: ‘Jerusalem won’t be divided again, we build all over the city,'” Ariel wrote Tuesday after Obama introduced his new Twitter handle.

 

View original Israel Hayom publication at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=25617

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