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      City of David Gets Boost with Visitors' Center

      A visitors' center was approved for the thriving City of David, despite left-wing charges of "Judaization" of the Biblical-rooted area.
      By Rachel Hirshfeld
      First Publish: 2/15/2012, 5:38 PM

      The City of David
      The City of David
      Flash 90

      The Jerusalem District Planning and Construction Committee Tuesday approved a visitors’ center in City of David National Park in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, located across the road form the Western Wall.

      The approval was granted despite criticism from left-wing organizations, which claim this effort is another step in the process of "Judaization," an accusation made by a United Nations investigator on Sunday, regarding Israel’s actions in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and the Negev. Ironically, the same areas are steeped in Jewish history. Jews lived in the Silwan area until they were forced out under the British Mandate.

      Elad, an organization working to promote the renewal of Jewish residency in Silwan, initiated the effort for a visitors' center, and Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat supported the plan.

      Artifacts from Roman, Late Byzantine and Second Temple periods have been discovered in the area, and the City of David still is being searched by archaeologists for further discoveries dating back to the era of the Holy Temples.

      The Israel Antiquities Authority’s Jerusalem District director, Dr. Yuval Baruch supported the project and said, “This is one of the most important projects in Jerusalem in recent generations. It would be impossible to find a serious archeologist with a bad word to say about the conduct of the excavations."