The cabinet on Sunday was set to approve the establishment of a museum in honor of world-famous Jewish physicist Albert Einstein.
The museum’s construction in Jerusalem is expected to be budgeted at NIS 64 million ($18 million).
Upon his death, Einstein bequeathed his writings and archive to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Most of these have been stored in the Albert Einstein Archives at the university’s Givat Ram campus, which is reported to contain tens of thousands of items.
“Albert Einstein is an asset, the biggest brand name in the world for intelligence, science and genius,” Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Saturday of the planned museum.
“Around the world, in China, India, the US and everywhere, Albert Einstein is synonymous with genius.”
He expressed hope that the museum “will serve as a pilgrimage site for anyone who wants to become familiar with Einstein, Jewish intelligence, and intelligence in general.
“Israeli teens as well as tourists and scientists from around the world will be able to receive inspiration from him.”
The museum is set to be constructed within the Givat Ram campus and is expected to present Einstein’s life and works as well as his ties to Judaism and Israel. The museum will also serve as a center for science and technology education.
The German-born Einstein is lauded as one of the greatest scientists of all time. His theories of relativity revolutionized his field by introducing new ways of looking at the movement of objects in space and time.
Einstein also made major contributions to quantum mechanics theory and won the Nobel physics prize in 1921. He became a pop culture icon thanks to his dry witticisms, as well as his trademark unruly hair, mustache and bushy eyebrows.
He fled Germany in 1933 with the rise to power of the Nazi party, moving to the US.
Einstein’s ties to Judaism and Zionism ran deep, and he was one of the founders of Hebrew University. Upon the death of Israel’s first president Chaim Weizmann in 1952, Israel offered the role to Einstein.
Though he said he was “deeply moved” by the offer, Einstein refused, saying his expertise was in “objective matters” and that he lacked “both the natural aptitude and the experience to deal properly with people and to exercise official functions.”
Einstein lived in Princeton, New Jersey until his death in 1955 at age 76.
“The legacy of research and academic excellence of Albert Einstein, one of Israel’s leading supporters and one of the founders of the university, is present within every foundational stone of Hebrew University,” said university president Asher Cohen.
He welcomed the establishment of a museum “that will preserve and celebrate the legacy of the greatest scientist of our time.”
Plans for an Einstein museum in Jerusalem have been discussed for over a decade, but have so far failed to come to fruition.