Jerusalem lightrail
Jerusalem lightrailHillel Meir

Transportation Minister Israel Katz granted his approval to a program that would connect Jerusalem to Ma'aleh Adumim and the towns in the Binyamin-Adam region and Givat Ze'ev through a new light rail system.

According to a report by Channel 2, the new light rail network will be added to the one already in place in Jerusalem. Four additional lines will be added, alongside other new lines that are already under construction.

The first line will travel south to Ma'aleh Adumim by way of French Hill. The second line will lead to Geva Binyamin where there is a large shopping center. The third line will go from Atarot to the Arab Qalandiya. And the fourth line will go to Givat Ze'ev, north of Jerusalem. An additional one will go to Mevasseret Yerushalayim.

The lines will be integrated through a special travel card that will be used for all trains in the area.

Minister Katz said "I see Jerusalem and the greater Jerusalem area as a single unit. Whoever lives in Gush Etzion, Binyamin, Ma'aleh Adumim, Beit Shemesh, or Mevasseret should have transportation services that are equally accessible. And if someone comes and says that we should put an artificial barrier between residents because they live over what was once called the 'Green Line' - we do not accept this argument."

Katz made his point by equating Beit Shemesh, west of Jerusalem and Mevasseret Yerushalayim, on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv road- both within the Green LIne (the 1949 Armistice lines at the end of Israel's War of Independence) - with Gush Etzion, Binyamin and Ma'aleh Adumim, which are not. All are satellites or suburbs of Jerusalem.

Mayor Oded Revivi of Efrat in Gush Etzion welcomed the plan, requesting that a sixth line should be constructed to connect that region with Jerusalem. "The long lines of cars in daily traffic jams at the southern entrance to Jerusalem would be alleviated and the number of traffic accidents would decrease sharply, if this heavily populated area were connected to Jerusalem by light rail," he said. It is only a 15 minute drive from south Jerusalem to Efrat and about ten minutes to the Gush Etzion towns of Neve Daniel and Elazar, making the light rail a feasible option.