The Groundbreaking ceremony for the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel took place on Sunday, October 15th, on Museum Hill in Jerusalem, in the presence of the President of the State of Israel,Moshe Katzav, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Minister of Culture Science and Sports Ophir Pines, Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, supporters of the Campus and their families, architect Moshe Safdie, and hundreds of guests from Israel and abroad, archaeologists and representative of the universities.
On Museum Hill, between the Bible Lands Museum and the Israel Museum, and across from the Knesset, the IAA broke ground for a center that will be in the forefront in the illumination and education of the archaeological work. The National Campus will serve as the National Center for the research, study, housing, curation, publication, education and illumination of the archaeological material excavated in Israel. It will be visited by archaeologists, toursist, school children, and the general public, and will serve as the link between our rich past and our future.
“Today, we lay the cornerstone for an institution, whose existence and activities will anchor the ways of the past in our consciousness. Here, alongside the Israel Museum, the Bible Lands Museum and the Museum of Science, the National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel will be established,” said the Prime Minister. “This is an important landmark in an ancient journey, a journey which has continued through today. The Jewish people, who have an unparalleled historic memory among the peoples of the world, have always known how important such landmarks are. It is not by chance that many Israelis have a great interest in archaeology. It is a clear expression of the perception that he who is not familiar with the ways of antiquity in this land can never find the paths which will lead its residents to a better future,” he said.
“The Jay and Jeannie Schottenstein National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel, which will be established here, will join an important and splendid list of institutions that tell the story of Israel. I have no doubt that, because of the range of topics which will be under the umbrella of this important institution, it will become a leading global center in the field of archaeology, and a magnet for many visitors”.
The corner stone was prepared by the stone conservation department of the IAA. It replicates an Herodian type stone which is easily recognizable as the type from the retaining wall of the Temple Mount enclosure. The inscription on the stone is from Psalms 118:22 and reads:
אבן מאסו הבונים היתה לראש פינה
(The stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner).
The President, Prime Minister and the supporters and their families were invited to chisel an area on the stone thereby completing the preparation of the cornerstone.
For the Prime Minister's speech in Hebrew and its translation to English please visit the following website:
Visit us on YouTube