The Western Wall Heritage Center was dedicated today (Tuesday) in the presence of President Yitzchak Herzog; the rabbi of the Western Wall and holy sites, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz; the director of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, Mr. Mordechai (Suli) Eliav; representatives of the donor’s family and trustees of the family foundation and the Zuckerman Institute, Mr. Mort Zuckerman’s nephews, Eric Gertler, James Gertler; Mr. Malcolm Hoenlein; executive director of the Zuckerman Institute, Ms. Lina Deshilton; president of the Foundation in the U.S., Mr. Joseph Loshinsky. The ceremony took place in attendance of: the Israeli government’s legal advisor, Mr. Avichai Mandelblit; MK Avi Dichter; Mr. Natan Sharansky, Jerusalem District Police Commander Doron Turgeman; the director of the Israel Antiquities Authority Eli Eskozido; Architect Ada Carmi-Melamed; teams that took part in the establishment of the Western Wall Heritage Center; presidents of Israeli universities; chairman of the Malag; and friends of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation.
President of Israel Issac Herzog said: “The sanctity and centrality of the Kotel, the beating heart of the Jewish people, are above any dispute and a esteemed place to preserve it. At this time – and especially at this time – I am making Every effort to minimize the division, and call on everyone to act responsibly and with restraint, to find paths of peace, and to place in front of themselves the lessons of history that warn us about baseless hatred. May we never reach that place of baseless hatred, may we never reach a point of destruction. We are obligated to always acknowledge that every single individual must feel satisfied, loved and accepted at the Kotel.”
The Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz said: “If we merit to be on a high enough level, in seems that here, at the Kotel, every stone is a good Margalit. Every stone will appear to us as a pearl, and a diamond in the crown of Jerusalem. When we dig in the soil of Jerusalem, we uncover the most amazing treasures! We uncover the chain if generations, our very roots. The stones we discover are the most precious stones in the world. They are the stones if identity, of belonging, and of Israel’s heritage. This building stands on antiquities made up of precious stones, and is built from those same precious stones.”
Among the archaeological findings discovered under the building are structures from the First Temple period, a Second Temple period aqueduct, a Roman road, Crusader-era stores, and Mamluk structures. Visitors to the antiquities floor will walk on a floating floor that looks out over the remnants while preserving the ancient Jerusalem stones.
The WWHC contains classrooms for study and in-depth discussions for students, soldiers, pupils, bar/bat mitzvah families and more, as well as a breathtaking view of the Western Wall Plaza.
Entrance of groups to the classrooms and for tours will commence in the upcoming weeks. Information on making arrangements will be available on the website of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation.