JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel’s Cabinet approved a $23 million plan to renovate the Western Wall Plaza and part of Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter.
The five-year plan approved Sunday will preserve and improve accessibility to archeological findings, upgrade infrastructure and provide a place to hold educational activities for students and soldiers, according to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Work is expected to start next year and be completed in 2015.
Some 8 million people visited the Western Wall in 2009, up from 4 million in 2004.
The plan will be administered by the Prime Minister’s Office and will be implemented through the Western Wall Heritage Foundation. It will be financed by the interior, transportation, tourism, public security and education ministries, as well as by the Israel Land Administration, according to the statement.
"The Western Wall is the Jewish people’s most important heritage site," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. "We are committed to developing and maintaining it so that it may continue to be the focus of visits and a source of inspiration for millions of visitors, tourists, young and old, from Israel and around the world."