(JTA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu inaugurated a new wing at The Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot in Tel Aviv.
The new wing, spanning 25,000 square feet, is one of the products of a $100 million renewal campaign. It will permanently house an exhibit showcasing the museum’s collection of synagogue models in a new multimedia environment.
Addressing the audience at a celebratory reception Tuesday night, Netanyahu said, “I’m certain that the new museum – which is dynamic, full of life, and carries an exceptionally important educational mission – will be a pillar in the cultural life of the State of Israel.”
“Every Jew, every visitor to Israel and every Israeli needs to visit The Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot,” he said.
Irina Nevzlin, chair of the museum’s board of directors, presented Netanyahu with a personal family tree, designed by the artist Ira Ovolsky, drawn up using information from the museum’s archives.
“Through the devotion of the museum’s staff and the unending support of our partners, the new wing manages to give voice to the values we believe in – a pluralistic view of Judaism and the Jewish people, recognizing and promoting diversity and an optimistic vision of Jewish identity and the Jewish future,” Nevzlin said.
Among the more than 450 attendees at Wednesday’s inauguration were Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog, Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky, World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer and former U.S. senator Joseph Lieberman, who is an honorary chair of the museum’s board of governors.
Founded in 1978, the museum, located on the Tel Aviv University campus, was formerly called Beit Hatfutsot: The Diaspora Museum.