View of Jerusalem's Old City walls
View of Jerusalem's Old City walls Yonatan Zacharin

According to Cabinet Secretary Shalom Shlomo, the opposition of Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli to the Western Wall cable-car project "has no legal significance," and the plan will go ahead.

Shlomo was writing to Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon at the request of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, in light of the fact that this Sunday morning, the Supreme Court is holding a session on petitions submitted by extreme-left-wing and Palestinian organizations against the construction of the cable car.

In his letter, Shlomo wrote: "I would like to clarify after consultation with the Attorney-General that the Transportation Minister's opposition has no legal significance at this stage, as this concerns a national master-plan for infrastructure which was approved by the Ministerial Committee on Planning, Construction, Real Estate and Housing in November 21, 2019.

"Therefore, the cable- car plan for the Old City of Jerusalem is already a legal reality and there is nothing that the Transportation Minister can do about it," Shlomo stressed. "Unless the plan is repealed or amended, the plan remains in existence and is binding by law."

Transportation Minister Michaeli has already stated her opposition to the cable-car project to the Western Wall, claiming that the damage it causes will outweigh its benefits.

Haaretz reported on Friday that the opposition of Michaeli and her office could frustrate the project, as its developers - the Tourism Ministry and the Jerusalem Development Authority - presented it in the planning committees and in court as a transportation project and not as a tourist attraction.

In response to a question from MK Alon Tal (Blue & White) regarding the cable car, Michaeli replied that, "The cable car does not have a significant transportation function," adding that, "the damage it causes will outweigh the benefits. For the purpose of service to the Old City, the Transportation Ministry is promoting the 'Golden Line' route of the light rail in accordance with the strategic plan for mass transportation in Jerusalem."

Michaeli added: "I would like to point out regarding the project's feasibility in the future, that the damage the project causes to the historic scenery of the Old City and the heritage assets that are so important to us, as well as the political and security implications of its promotion, should be examined with due sensitivity."

In 2019, the Netanyahu government decided to build a cable car to the Western Wall that will extend 1.4 km between the First Station complex in Emek Refaim and the Kedem complex in the City of David. Another station is planned in the Har Zion parking lot.