We did it! Despite the difficulties and obstacles, we managed to reach our first target and raise NIS 250,000! We are thrilled by the broad support we have received from the general public and from the media that covered the issue and a special thanks goes out to Avri Gilad (an Israeli TV and radio top celebrity) whose viral video in support of our project brought us an additional 200 backers in this campaign. Your support enables us to continue the research on the artifacts from the Temple Mount until the end of this year!
We reached our goal so quickly, we are now able to go on to phase two! We are continuing to strive and reach funding sources for the continuation of our research in the years to come, the types of artifacts that do not yet have funding, and the publication of this research. The full study will yield many more discoveries about the artifacts we have recovered. This will be included in a series of volumes of scientific publications (8 are planned for 2020), as well as a number of articles for the general public. Once we’ve funded the full research, we will also be able to resume the sifting work that has stopped.
We need about NIS 6.8 million ($1.8M). Since this is a significant amount, we are working to obtain the balance of the funding from several channels. Here is our plan on how to get it (with your help)
1) Several government offices are working on findings solutions for our funding needs though nothing is concrete yet and we still don’t have promises with specifics (We received pledges for full funding of the project and meetings were scheduled, but no decision has yet been made). We will update you once something has been officially announced.
2) Public support – so far we have raised NIS 250,000 with your help! We will continue to run the Headstart campaign for our Israeli supporters, but we will also reopen our half-shekel.org platform. This will enable donors to give in dollars as well as have an option to give a tax-deductible donation in the US and UK. Please share our campaign on half-shekel.org with your friends who could not give in NIS.
3) Philanthropic donors – We have pledges of $220,000 in donations so far and are working on applications for grants and matching campaigns.
We will update the text of the campaign page to keep you apprised of the situation. This way, you can monitor our progress and keep track of the government’s promises. Showing your support for our campaign has far-reaching effects.
So far, our campaign has been the catalyst for momentum in various processes within government institutions and also with donors from abroad. Many influential people (including the Prime Mininster’s Office) are following the public’s support for the campaign. The state’s obligation to protect its heritage can no longer be ignored because YOUR support has created a new discourse and standards that have never before existed.
Even more, your contribution and your caring has encouraged philanthropists to reach out to our project. This means that your donation is being matched many times over. Israel Antiquities Authority director, Israel Hasson, said last week on the radio that he sees great value in the current campaign, which is bringing the public closer to this important cause. Your support of our project and of this campaign is an act that indicates that the public is at the front of the struggle for the future of the protection of heritage and cultural values.
Giving to our campaign is almost like signing a petition for the protection of Temple Mount Heritage, and every name on the list, no matter the size of the donation, has a huge impact.
This is even more important in the wake of resolutions like that of UNESCO last October and as recently as this week on Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day. When the world tries to tell us that there is no Jewish or Christian connection to Jerusalem, or that there was never a Jewish Temple upon the Temple Mount, your voice in support of our archaeological research that provides evidence to contradict these outrageous resolutions is even more important. Your support shows the world that we will not stand for the rewriting of history, the ignorance of evidence and research, and the erasure of our heritage.
We cherish, appreciate, and thank each and every one of you. With great appreciation,
Gabriel Barkay and Zachi Dvira and the team of the Temple Mount Sifting Project