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Jerusalem's new Einstein museum breaks ground this week, seeks to become go-to tourist attraction

Following his death in 1955, some 80,000 Einstein documents were donated to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

The planned Einstein House. (Photo: Hebrew University on Jerusalem)

After years of planning, the Jewish state will finally begin construction of the Albert Einstein House in Jerusalem, a museum dedicated to the world famous Jewish scientist who has become synonymous with high intelligence.

The museum's groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday evening at Hebrew University’s Givat Ram campus and is expected to attract numerous Israeli and international visitors.

The Albert Einstein museum is the brainchild of Ido Aharoni, a veteran Foreign Ministry official who has long-viewed Einstein as an “attractive brand” to promote the Jewish state worldwide.

“From 2007, I had frequently played with the idea of an Einstein museum as a way of promoting positive interest in Israel and the Jews, and tried to find partners that would make it happen,” said Aharoni.

The German-born Einstein who fled Nazi persecution in Europe to the United States, emerged after the Second World War as a pacifist liberal who was skeptical toward nationalist movements. However, he had a soft spot for the Jewish national freedom movement of Zionism, which he viewed as an answer to anti-Semitism.

However, Einstein’s involvement with the Zionist movement predates the Holocaust. In 1923, the young scientist addressed the inaugural ceremony of the Hebrew University on Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus campus. Einstein praised the Jewish community's scientific contributions and the Zionist movement’s aspirations.

“I consider this the greatest day of my life...," he said in his speech. "Today I have been made happy by the sight of the Jewish people learning to recognize themselves and to make themselves recognized as a force in the world. This is a great age, the age of liberation of the Jewish soul, and it has been accomplished through the Zionist movement, so that no one in the world will be able to destroy it.”

Einstein later politely declined an offer to become the president of the modern Jewish state. Instead, Chaim Weizmann, another prominent Jewish scientist and a Zionist leader, became the first president of the State of Israel.

Following his death in 1955, some 80,000 Einstein documents were donated to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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