Minister of Transport, Yisrael Katz, announced Tuesday that he intends to go ahead with plans to name a planned new major road in Jerusalem after Rabbi Ovadia Yosef ztz”l, despite an online petition demanding that he refrain from doing so.
The petition, which has garnered 5,000 signatures thus far, declares that “he who memorializes, in a highway interchange, the memory of Rabbi Ovadia, also memorializes his racism, his hatred of the other and his teachings against anyone who thinks differently.”
Min. Katz announced Tuesday that Rabbi Ovadia “was a great figure for the entire nation of Israel, and a great figure for the city of Jerusalem. In every generation, the Jewish nation had spiritual leaders who spent their time teaching Torah, deciding Halacha and connecting the nation to its roots – and each of these figures had his own unique style of doing things.
"Rabbi Ovadia Yosef was one of those geniuses. A great Torah sage, and a spiritual leader for the general population. He was surrounded by a core of Torah students, along with a much larger public that saw him as the person who connected it anew with the ways of their fathers, their Jewish roots and the tradition from which it had been torn.
"This is where his great influence and leadership – which shall not be equalled – come from. My decision to memorialize him shall not change.”
The new route will ease traffic congestion at the western entrance and exit to the city and in the neighborhoods that border on the road, and will make the Givat Shaul area more accessible.
The road will have two lanes going in each direction, and be 4.7 km (almost 3 miles) long. The maximum speed allowed on it will be 80 kph. There will be a connecting road between it and the Motza junction, and it will also connect with Shmuel Bait street, between Shaarei Tzedek Hospital and Begin Road.
Most of the road will pass underground, in two tunnels, one under Har Nof, and the other under Yefeh Nof, the Kerek Kayemet forests and Har Nof. It will also pass over Nahal Revida, on a bridge.