January 20, 2011/ 15 Shvat 5771
The largest auditorium and performing arts center in northern Israel was dedicated this week in Maalot-Tarshiha.
The regional auditorium and performing arts center was erected after an investment of 33 million NIS, made possible by the generosity of the IDB Group's Discount Investment Corporation, Mifal Hapayis, the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Jewish Federations of North America, the Ministry of Housing and Construction, and other notable organizations. The center was dedicated today in a well-attended ceremony; participants included Vice Premier Silvan Shalom, Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Attias, IDB Group Chairman Nochi Dankner, Jewish Agency representatives, Maalot-Tarshiha Mayor and Local Government Center Chairman Shlomo Bohbot, Discount Investment Corporation President Ami Arel, and many other dignitaries.
The auditorium is considered one of the leading cultural centers in Israel due to its high standard of construction and its suitability to host professional and artistic cultural performances. It is designed to serve the entire Galilee region.
The cornerstone of the auditorium was laid in March 2007, in the presence of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Vice Premier and Negev and Galilee Development Minister (now President) Shimon Peres, and IDB Group Chairman Nochi Dankner.
The construction was made possible when the mayor of Maalot approached Nochi Dankner, who immediately committed to help build the auditorium.
The initial funds, donated by the IDB Group’s Discount Investment Corporation, got the project off the ground and attracted contributions from the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation, JFNA, the Jewish Agency, Mifal Hapayis, the Housing and Construction Ministry, and the Negev and Galilee Development Ministry.
Thursday’s ceremony included performances by Rita and the Bat Sheva Dance Troupe.
Maalot-Tarshiha Mayor and Local Government Center Chairman Shlomo Bohbot said: The Housing and Construction Ministry and the Negev and Galilee Development Ministry were joined by several major powers and bodies—Mifal Hapayis, the Jewish Agency, and the IDB Group—without which this center would not have been built.
Bohbot further commented: I have chosen to single out one individual whose initiative and personal involvement in this project made all the difference, made everything possible, and transformed the idea into a reality. Nochi Dankner is not just the chairman of IDB—first and foremost, he’s a man—a man with vision, a patriot, a true Zionist for whom the good, security, and socioeconomic prosperity of the country are dear. It is not for naught that just a few weeks ago President Shimon Peres called him “the State of Israel’s greatest social worker.”
Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky commented: Since its inception, the Jewish Agency has been a major partner in building and developing the country. I believe that this new auditorium, built by the city of Maalot-Tarshiha together with Diaspora communities, the Jewish Agency, and Israeli donors, will serve as a central attraction for all residents of northern Israel. I am proud of the Jewish Agency’s close partnership with Mr. Nochi Dankner and the IDB Group in helping to strengthen Israel’s peripheral communities, and I thank the family of Audre and Bernad Rapoport of Texas for their generosity, which helped build this auditorium.
About the Auditorium and Performing Arts Center in Maalot-Tarshiha
The new auditorium and performing arts center is the most advanced in its class in Israel and will host a wide variety of cultural activities, including concerts, theatrical and operatic productions, and song and dance performances.
Over 33 million NIS were invested in the auditorium, which was constructed in accordance with international standards.
The center extends over 1,900 square meters, contains 500 seats, and is surrounded by 12 dunams of manicured gardens. The auditorium was built in accordance with particularly high standards, suitable for hosting theater and dance performances, concerts by small ensembles and chamber orchestras, entertainment and conferences at a high professional and artistic level. It is the first building on the campus of an academic college planned for the city.
The building was designed by architect Uri Sheetrit, and Ohad Naharin consulted on the construction of the stage. The structure conforms to the highest acoustic and lighting standards and will serve all residents of the Western Galilee.