Mount of Olives cemetery
Mount of Olives cemeteryIsrael news photo: Flash 90

The government has approved a new plan to develop tourism in Jerusalem and the economy of the capital city.

Meeting on Ammunition Hill to honor the reunification of the city on Jerusalem Day, the Cabinet gave its approval to the NIS 350 million blueprint. The six-year plan calls for expansion of current public spaces, infrastructure and tourist sites.

“These investments will help give expression to Jerusalem's vast potential as a focus for global tourism and will greatly contribute to the development and strength of Israel's capital," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the start of the Cabinet meeting.

Among sites to be developed and upgraded is the Mount of Olives cemetery. The site has been repeatedly vandalized by Arabs who live in the eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem, and who also attack Jews who come to visit the graves. A new police station recently opened near the site, but local Arabs are determined to drive out Jews who have moved back in areas that were once populated by their ancestors.

Nevertheless, a local museum on the Mount of Olives is also expected to receive some NIS 20 million in funding as the government proceeds with its plans to strengthen and rehabilitate the ancient Jewish site.

In addition, the Cabinet discussed plans to approve NIS 1 million to develop plans for a museum on the life and works of scientist and mathematician Albert Einstein.

Construction of a residence compound for security forces in the city was also approved.

“The Israel Land Administration will allocate tender-exempt land in Jerusalem neighborhoods for career IDF and Israel Police personnel,” explained the Prime Minister's media adviser. “The decision will ease the construction of residential developments and assist in attracting a strong population to the city.”