Arab Taxis Return to Zion Road

The Civil Administration has reopened Zion Road in Hevron to Arab commercial vehicles, despite strenuous objections from the Jewish community.

Hana Levi Julian , | updated: 2:45 PM

Opening Zion Road last year
Opening Zion Road last year
Israel news photo: David Wilder

Last week in a "pilot program" the Civil Administration reopened Hevron's Zion Road to Arab traffic, including commercial vehicles, despite vehement objections from the local Jewish community.

Zion Road, known in Hebrew as Tzir Tzion, leads from the northern section of Kiryat Arba, past the community's western gate, down into the ancient holy city of Hevron. It is also the only access road into the “Jewish area” of Hevron, and the road where two Jewish men were killed several years ago by Palestinian Authority Arab terrorists.

It was after the murders of David Cohen and Chezi Mualem several years ago that Zion Road was closed to Arab traffic.

However, last August the road was reopened by Defense Minister Ehud Barak to local Arab traffic in order to "ease the lives of Palestinians" in the area – and four months later, community leaders were informed that access would soon be expanded to include commercial vehicles.

Last Thursday, Arab public transportation also returned to Zion Road, and eyewitnesses reported seeing the familiar bright orange taxi vans with  their green PA license plates shuttling passengers down the street. Thursday was a one-day trial period, according to Wilder, but a decision is expected shortly on whether or not to permanently reopen the road to further Arab traffic. “Clear, the military recommendation will be in favor,”  Wilder predicted.

“It is very interesting that Israeli military officers, responsible for the security of Jews, are more concerned about 'easing the lives of Palestinians' than they are in providing security of Jews,” he added. “They contend that the security situation now allows such risks.'

David Wilder's opinion can be read on his Arutz Sheva blog on this page.

IDF troops shot and killed a terrorist in Hevron two days ago on Friday as he attempted to stab a soldier.