Israel’s National Planning and Building Committee has approved the construction of Jerusalem’s City of David’s “Kedem” visitor’s center, which will serve as a focal point for tourists to explore the archaeological excavations at the City of David.
“There is great importance in having a visitor’s center built specifically on the site of the Givati Parking Lot excavation… Establishing a visitor’s center on this venue, without a doubt, will generate a high level of activity that compliments the historic and archeological significance of the area,” the committee said.
In its decision, the committee rejected many of the claims made by opponents of the Kedem Center project, mainly European-funded NGOs such as Ir Amin and Emek Shaveh, who have objected to its location in the mainly Arab eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. The project’s critics have also argued that the structure will adversely affect the skyline of Jerusalem’s Old City.
According to the City of David, the building was designed by Arieh Rahaminmoff, the former chairman of UNESCO in Israel, and will sit on top of the “Givati Parking Lot” excavation just outside of the Old City’s walls. The visitor’s center will serve as an entryway to the Jerusalem Walls National Park, which includes the City of David and Mount Zion, as well as to the Old City’s Ophel and Hulda Gates.