The construction of Beit Haliba Museum at the Kosel Plaza, will change the face of the plaza of the holy site. The project awaits final approval and as one would expect for a major face-changing project at the Kosel Plaza, there are opponents to the five-story heritage center.
Former planning committee official Yair Gabbai explains the building is planned for the rear of the plaza, and it will be directly opposite the Kosel, stating it will be about 4,000 square meters. Gabbai believes there is no place opposite the Kosel for such a large structure and he believes if it is constructed, the move will be regretted when it is too late. Many residents of Jerusalem’s Old City are counted among the opponents, for they claim it will reduce the size of the plaza, block the skyline and the structure is simply too large for the venue selected. The façade of the structure will cut some 20 meters (21.8 yards) from the plaza.
Jerusalem City Hall is however pushing the project in earnest with the head of the Jerusalem Planning Board, Kobi Kahlon explaining the building will be an asset. Officials explain that during the hot summer months or rain season the building and its access to archeological areas underneath will provide a welcome shelter along with becoming a significant heritage site.
At present, despite opposition, it does appear the final approval will be given.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)