Israel is planning to build a beauty pageant at the ancient world’s most beautiful and ancient sites, including the Temple Mount, the Golan Heights, and the Negev, the country’s heritage minister said Monday.
“This will be an international pageant,” Yoav Mordechai told Israel Radio.
“It will be a celebration of beauty and history and all the history that we share.”
The announcement came just days after the Israeli prime minister’s office announced that he had approved the construction of the world heritage sites.
It also comes amid growing pressure on the United States to condemn the Jerusalem Olympics after it said it would not host the event.
“We are delighted to announce that the Israeli Olympic Committee will open an Olympic and cultural center on the Temple Mountain,” the prime minister said in a statement.
“The center will be called ‘The Temple Mount.'”
Mordechai said the Temple is “the place where God is living and the site where all the world’s cultures and religions gather” and that the project would “honor the past.”
The Olympic center is slated to open in 2019.
It will be the first major development in the area since Israel’s 1967 war with Egypt.
Mordchai said he is hopeful that the site’s status will be clarified by a future Palestinian state.
“This is the first step towards establishing an independent state and to create an Olympic park for all the countries of the Middle East,” he said.