Daily Israel Report

Tourist Center at Old Jerusalem Train Station

The old Jerusalem train station soon will become a tourist center, but part of it will be open on Shabbat with non-kosher food.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu & Hezki Ezra
First Publish: 12/19/2012, 8:01 AM

The Old Jerusalem Train Station
The Old Jerusalem Train Station
Israel news photo: PR

A Jerusalem businessman has spearheaded a project to turn the old, historic Jerusalem train station into a tourist center and museum, but part of it will be open on the Sabbath with non-kosher restaurants and food stalls.

The station, located midway between downtown Jerusalem and the Old City, began operating in 1892 and was closed in 1998. New high-speed train service from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is expected to begin running in three years, but the Jerusalem stop will be at the southern edge of the capital, near the Biblical Zoo and the Malcha mall.

Adi Talmor told Arutz Sheva that he and three other Jerusalem residents launched the idea of establishing a museum and tourist center at the old station, which once upon a time linked Jerusalem and Yafo (Jaffa).

The project, to be completed in the spring, includes restaurants, exhibits, a market and shops along with the train museum. Allowing restaurants in a tourist center to be open on the Sabbath with non-kosher food would be a major change in the atmosphere of the Holy City and could give rise to vociferous opposition. There are some private non-kosher restaurants open on the Sabbath in Jerusalem, but not at official sites, tourist centers, museums or malls. 

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who did not see this as a problem, said, "Four years ago I set a vision to restore Jerusalem to be Israel's cultural capital, and you can already see the results. The old train station compound is scheduled to open early… Increasing investment from the private sector is growing and developing in Jerusalem, helping it to return it to its proper place. "



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