IDF College on the Mt. of Olives – Moving Forward
On April 4th the Jerusalem Municipal Planning Committee was set to approve Town Plan 51870, for the construction of the IDF War College on the Mount of Olives. At the last minute, the committee’s deliberations on the plan were put off until April 18. Subsequently, on April 18th, the Jerusalem Municipal Planning Committee considered and approved Plan 51870, for the construction of the IDF Colleges on the Mount of Olives. The plan will now go to Regional Planning Committee for hearings and final approval.
The plans call for an 8-story structure, 5 stories of which will be built into the ridge, with 41,480 square meters of built-up space.
The site of the planned IDF college is located opposite the Mormon University Campus and adjacent to the Lutheran World Federation/Augusta Victoria Campus, beyond the Green Line and on lands expropriated by Israel in 1968. Interestingly, in 1969, during the period of post-1967 War hubris, the government of Israel approved a plan to construct its Supreme Court on the site. That scheme that was subsequently quietly, and wisely, abandoned, after reconsideration. A map showing the site of the planned IDF college can be viewed/downloaded here.
The IDF college plan was initiated by the Jerusalem Development Authority (JDA), an Israeli governmental organization, in conjunction with the IDF and the Israel Lands Authority. While the April 18th approval was at the level of the Jerusalem Municipality, the Government of Israel’s involvement in this plan is direct and intense, and not merely a formality. Not only was the plan initiated by the JDA/IDF and ILA, a representative of the Ministry of Defense took an active role in the Municipal Planning Committee’s deliberations. Moreover, the plan was reportedly expedited with the knowledge and consent of the Prime Minister’s office.