'Greater Paris in France, and Greater Jerusalem in Israel'

Transportation Minister calls for annexation of towns surrounding Jerusalem to form greater metropolitan area.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Yisrael Katz
Yisrael Katz
Chen Damari

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) called Sunday for the development of 'Greater Jerusalem,' with Maaleh Adumim, Gush Etzion, Betar Illit, and Givat Ze'ev attached to the capital.

Speaking at a Jewish National Fund (JNF) conference at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, Katz protested against the "shameful" UNESCO decision last October to refer to Jerusalem as a purely Islamic city and erase any Jewish connection to the city or its holy sites.

"It was a decision which seeks to undermines the relationship between Israel and its ancestral inheritance, the Western Wall, the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb, and historic towns in Judea and Samaria. Even hundreds of UNESCO decisions cannot sever the connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem." he said.

He called for the extension of Israeli sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria. "As we mark 50 years since the liberation and reunification of Jerusalem, we must expand the borders of Jerusalem and work to strengthen its Jewish majority. We must apply Israeli sovereignty to the settlements surrounding Jerusalem, Maaleh Adumim, Gush Etzion, Betar Illit, and Givat Ze'ev. And we must attach them to Jerusalem as part of the metropolis of Greater Jerusalem."

"Greater Paris in France, and Greater Jerusalem in Israel. This is the correct response to the UNESCO decision," he said. "We are working to strengthen the physical connection with Jerusalem. On the same day the government in Washington was replaced, we, along with the Prime Minister, inaugurated the tunnels on the new highway to Jerusalem, where the Harel Brigade fought to break through to Jerusalem during the War of Independence, where hundreds of soldiers fell to keep the road to Jerusalem open. We broke through again and expanded the road to Jerusalem."

Katz said that the Transportation Ministry was working hard on the tracks and bridges for the high speed train to Jerusalem. "You will be able to get from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in less than half an hour. We hope to begin service by Passover."

"As the prophet Isaiah said in his appeal to the nations of the world to prepare the way for the people of Israel and Jerusalem: 'Pass through, pass through the gates! Prepare the way for the people. Build up, build up the highway! Remove the stones. Raise a banner for the nations.' And as the famous Jewish blessing states: 'Next year in rebuilt Jerusalem!"