New Sports Stadium in J'lem Aims to Boost Tourism

480 million shekel spent on Hapayis Hall; Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat says city is 'back to leading Israel as the center of culture.'

Hezki Baruch ,

ברקת באולם החדש
ברקת באולם החדש
צילום: ששון תירם

The Jerusalem Municipality and the National Lottery, in conjunction with the Ariel Municipal Company and Moriah, dedicated the Jerusalem HaPayis (Lottery) Hall on Monday, due to be the largest sports hall, leisure hall, and culture center in the Middle East.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat spoke at the hall's opening ceremony. 

"We've been dreaming about this stadium for decades," Barkat stated to reporters. "It is a big honor to open this stadium this week, actually in a few days from now [. . .] it's a very well-organized arena that enables lots of flexibility for sports and culture and events." 

Barkat noted with pride that the arena has already been 50% booked to full capacity for the next three months, despite not having been officially opened yet. 

"We're back to leading Israel as the center of tourism and culture," he added. 

The Jerusalem Municipality also has high hopes that the arena will boost the status of Jerusalem as the capital for Israel's sport and culture scene.

By the numbers

The arena is located in the Malha neighborhood in the southwest of the city near Teddy Stadium.

The building is spread over 47,000 square meters (505,900 square feet) of space with eight stories.

The stadium itself stretches to an impressive 2,700 square meters (29,000 square feet) with 11,600 seats; the LED screens in the center are the largest of their kind in Europe, some 200 meters across (2,150 feet). There are also 18 galleries and 16 exhibit facilities on-site; plans for an Olympic swimming pool, ice-skating rink,and bowling alley are also in the works.  

In total, ₪ 400 million shekels ($111 million) was invested into the stadium, with  281 million ($78 million) in funding from the National Lottery.

The Hapoel Jerusalem basketball team is already slated to play at the sports stadium, which meets all the required standards of the FIBA basketball league to host international matches - including the Euroleague.

The development is expected to bring thousands of people to Jerusalem and provide a great boost to the economy.