The tram will enable the elderly and families with small children to easily move back and forth between the two areas. Visitors to the Western Wall (Kotel) could have an easier time getting to the holy site soon. A new tram will visitors to reach to the Kotel Plaza from the Jewish Quarter, enabling visitors who have difficulty walking up and down the many steps between the two sites to more easily visit the Kotel.
The tram, which is to be named for Baruch Klein, a resident of the Quarter who is financing the project, will descend from Tiferet Yisrael Street, and then enter a 56-meter long tunnel, where riders will exit.
The project is being directed by the Jewish Quarter Preservation and Development Company. Company director Nissim Arazi told Israel National News that the tram could be extended to reach the Herodian Quarter (the Wohl Archaeological Museum) - an area with many well-preserved buildings from the Second Temple era that is impossible for individuals with physical limitations to reach.
"Some 10 million visitors come to the Old City each year," Arazi said. "The Jewish Quarter has been partially outfitted to enable disable people to reach important sites, but because of worries about preserving the site archaeologically, we were unable to build a connection between the Jewish Quarter and the Kotel Plaza. The tram will enable limited mobility individuals, such as the elderly or families with small children, to easily move back and forth between the two areas."
"This has long been a dream of Mr. Klein's and of the municipality, and it is only due to technological advancement that the project can now become a reality," Arazi added.
Baruch Klein is an international businessman who divides his time between New York and Israel. He was injured in an accident in Brooklyn, and was forced to remain bedridden for a long period. His experience prompted him to try and do something for the disabled community, and on a visit to Hong Kong he saw how the upper and lower parts of the city were connected, enabling physically-limited individuals to access both parts of the city – and decided that something similar was needed in Israel.