'It's unreasonable to block the Ayalon Highway during the week'

Prime Minister Netanyhau does not back Transportation Minister's decision to cancel construction work planned on Shabbat.

Nitsan Keidar,

Yehudit Bridge
Yehudit Bridge
Chen Architects

Sources in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office responded on Wednesday to Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz's decision to cancel construction work of a bridge on the Ayalon Highway that had been scheduled for Shabbat.

"It is unreasonable that traffic on the Ayalon Highway will be stopped in the middle of the week," the sources said.

Minister Katz's decision to cancel the work on Shabbat was welcomed by the haredi Shas and United Torah Judaism parties, and the minister announced that the construction work on the Yehudit Bridge, which will connect Yigal Alon Street and the Montefiore neighborhood, would be postponed by half a year.

"I will not allow the Ayalon Highway to be blocked, either in the middle of the week or on the weekend, for a pedestrian bridge," Katz said in an interview with Hadashot TV on Wednesday evening. "I have instructed that a research project be carried out that will examine how the work can be done during the night. If it cannot be done at night, the work will be delayed by half a year."

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai threatened to petition the Supreme Court against Minister Katz.

"We cannot build the Yehudit Bridge during the night. This was a professional decision that was made after a thorough examination of Netivei Ayalon, a company that is entirely owned by the Ministry of Transportation, and which examined all the possibilities and reached the conclusion that such work at night would not only disrupt the Ayalon Highway but also Israel Railways and will, in essence, bring about a traffic catastrophe,” said Huldai.

"Furthermore, it is impossible to carry out the work within the hours of a night shift. The placing of the three levers itself is an action that takes hours. Therefore, since this was a decision that was made professionally and approved by the Israel Police, the Ministry of Transportation and the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Haim Katz, one must understand that the decision of Minister [Yisrael] Katz is purely political in nature and its consequences cause tremendous harm to the citizens of the country in general and Tel Aviv-Jaffa in particular,” he added.