The windmill was built in 1858 by Moses Montefiore and has become a symbol of the Holy City. Over the decades, however, it fell into disuse. With help from the Jerusalem Foundation, the Prime Minister’s Office Heritage Program, and donations from the Netherlands, the façade was restored and machinery was installed so that the mill can operate once more.
The sails were dormant for 100 years, but Netanyahu spoke at a dedication ceremony about how the windmill still served as a symbol for the Jewish people.
"Moses Montefiore made a great and significant contribution to Jews' leaving the walls. He contributed to their economic base during a very difficult time…Beyond the economic support, he also assisted Jews with know-how on managing enterprises and developing the economy of the future Israel. This double contribution was expressed here in this neighborhood and this windmill.
"My childhood memories are of this place. First of all, I studied not far from here, on the other side of the street. We would play soccer in the field and, from time to time, we would come here and this, of course, was Jerusalem then, which was still divided by walls and we would look from here, it was not simple. There were all kinds of security questions here; as a boy and a youth, I remember these restrictions. But this was the scenery of my youth and it is said that a man is always defined by the scenery of his youth. We grew up with the windmill, this windmill which always served as a symbol for us. Today, I know that couples about to be married come here to be photographed, and people celebrate bar and bat mitzvahs here.
"For us, this was a constant celebration but today it is a special celebration, because we are marking the restoration of this asset which will serve all residents of Jerusalem and Israel, as well as the tourists who come here, and this is a symbol of the spirit of Jerusalem."
The Dutch organization Christians for Israel was behind the Netherlands' part in the restoration. Netanyahu addressed the charitable giving in his ceremony speech.
"I don’t believe that the Jewish State and Modern Zionism would have been possible without Christian Zionism,” he said. “We value our friends, and we never forget them, and we think that you have helped establish here a powerful memorial to our friendship and our common ideals."
The ceremony was also attended by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov, the chief rabbis of Israel and the Netherlands, and members of the Montefiore family.