A Ministry of Tourism proposal to build a cable car to bring visitors to Jerusalem’s Western Wall was approved this week by the Israeli cabinet.
Jerusalem’s Old City, where the Western Wall is located, is a tight and overcrowded area with very little parking. Nevertheless, it plays host to an estimated 135,000 visitors every week.
The proposed cable car will be capable of transporting up to 3,000 people at a time, both to and from the Western Wall Plaza. Visitors will embark at the First Station, the old central Jerusalem railway station that has been transformed into a popular shopping, restaurant and event venue. From there, passengers will be taken over the Hinnom Valley, around Mount Zion, and into the Old City just next to the Temple Mount.
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon defended the decision, which has met with a fair amount of opposition, by calling it the best available solution to the traffic congestion in and around the Old City. “The Western Wall is currently not sufficiently accessible to the general public,” argued Kahlon.
But those opposing the plan say it will only relocate the traffic problems from one part of Jerusalem to another. They instead want to see the Jerusalem Municipality ban all private vehicular traffic in and around the Old City, in conjunction with building more parking facilities and expanding existing public transportation.
Others are concerned that Israel is putting too much effort and money into projects like the cable car, while not focusing enough attention on much more serious problems, like stabilizing the government and curbing terrorist rocket fire the south.
And, of course, the Palestinians oppose the cable car as yet another effort to “Judaize” the city of Jerusalem, which we all know has been a Jewish city going all the way back to King David, long before there were any “Palestinians.”
Meanwhile, many of the Arab shop owners in the Old City are happy about the new cable car. Israel Today spoke to one back in October of 2016 when the plan was first introduced. You can read all about it here >>