Will Israel’s Fast Train Whisk You Right to the Western Wall?
Soon, visitors to one of Judaism’s holiest sites may be able to take a train there.
The Western Wall may be the last stop on the long-awaited high-speed railway line between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz announced his vision to extend the the line to the Western Wall via a tunnel that would go around the Old City, according to the Times of Israel.
Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Katz spoke of his plan at a meeting with Israel Railways and the Jerusalem Transport Master Plan team, as well as representatives from the transportation and finance ministries.
Katz said that the Western Wall line will relieve traffic at the main Jerusalem station by providing a quick way for tourists and worshippers to get to the Western Wall from the Tel Aviv area.
The Western Wall is the site of controversy today as the feminist prayer group Women of the Wall as well as progressive Jewish movements are agitating for the construction of an egalitarian prayer space at the wall. The Israeli government committed to such a space in January 2016, but backed off amid protest from ultra-Orthodox groups.
The massive $1.8 billion train rail is expected to bring travelers from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in less than a half an hour, as opposed to the 78-minute ride on the current line.