Parliamentary aide Itamar Ben-Gvir and activist Baruch Marzel have petitioned High Court justices to allow Jews to drive on highways restricted for Arabs, based on the court's reasoning behind last week's order that a major highway be opened for Arabs.
The court told the IDF that it cannot continue to enforce its blanket restriction on Arabs from driving on a 14-mile stretch of Highway 443, which passes though part of Samaria on the way to the city of Modi'in and Ben Gurion International Airport. The road has been closed to Palestinian Authority Arabs since 2002 after Jews were repeatedly wounded and killed on the highway in dozens of terrorist attacks.
Ben-Gvir and Marzel filed a petition Monday arguing that justice’s statement -- “there is no justification for placing sanctions on an entire population” -- also should apply to other highways in Judea and Samaria, including Hevron, which are reserved solely for PA Arab motorists.
Jewish drivers are forced to take roads that significantly lengthen their trips, particularly to Jerusalem. The appeal argues that keeping Jews off the highways “seriously damages the fabric of life” for Jews in Judea and Samaria. “If the reasoning applies to Arabs, there is no reason to differentiate between Jews and Arabs because the law should apply equally to everybody,” the petition argued.
The order to open Highway 443 is to take effect in five months in order to give the IDF time to come up with alternative security procedures, but Transportation Ministry officials have warned that an additional result of the decision will come in the form of traffic jams on the main highway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Ministry transportation inspector Yishai Taylor said that Jewish motorists will be afraid to use 443 because of the possibility that it will return to being a death trap at the hands of terrorists. The result he said, will be a “complete collapse” of the heavily-traveled Highway 1 from Jerusalem.