(November 12, 2018 / JNS) The Old City of Jerusalem can be a fantastic place to visit, but anyone who has tried to get there easily has probably suffered a setback. This is because there is no really convenient way for most people to reach this area without a big walk or spending a private taxi.
Add summer heat or crowds from the Middle East, and maybe both, and look at quite poor experience. Exactly, it aims to change the municipality in Jerusalem, the Ministry of Tourism and the Jerusalem Development Office, as well as many residents and tourists. With the growing number of tourists and even more expected in the coming years, Jerusalem simply can not cope with a large number of tourists, and the Old Town needs a plan. It is planned to build a cable car that starts in the First Station complex, just outside the Old Town Walls and ends just outside the gate closest to the Western Wall and Temple Mount.
A record number of tourists – 3.6 million – visited Israel in 2017. October 2018. It was the best tourist month. According to the Central Statistical Office of Israel, about 486 000 tourist entries were registered in October, which is a monthly record for inbound tourism. 2018 is on track to reach 4 million tourists.
It is anticipated that the cable car extends to the Hinom Valley, reaching the Zion Gate, and then to the Dung Gate. Some activists claimed that the cable car will destroy the panorama of the ancient city and should not cross the Gey Ben Hinom National Park. It is also said that the Elad group – the company running the archaeological site of City of David – will financially benefit from the cable car because the last station will be built on its property. At the same time, Arab residents in East Jerusalem complained that they had not been consulted in the planning process and claimed that the construction would displace residents in the mostly Arabian Silwan district.
Doron Spielman, vice president of the City of David Foundation, rejects these claims. He told JNS that "the planned cableway project is an initiative of the Jeruzalem municipality and many Israeli ministries." The City of David welcomes all projects that increase access to millions of tourists annually – all faiths and environments – trying to connect with the historical significance of ancient Jerusalem, including places in the Old Town and the City of David. "
More recently, the cable car project was submitted to the National Infrastructure Committee, which in turn approved the submission of the cableway construction plan. After approval by the committee, the plan will move to a stage where remarks and objections from the district committees and the public are welcomed. The National Infrastructure Committee consists of representatives of governments, public representatives and representatives of local authorities who discussed this issue.
Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said: "We took another big step towards approving the cable car project in Jerusalem, we set a goal and budget for a project that will change the face of Jerusalem, allowing easy and convenient access for tourists and visitors to the Wailing Wall. and an important tourist attraction. "
According to the Ministry of Tourism, "the queue aims to solve the problem of congestion and accessibility that exists in the south-eastern part of the Old Town, taking into account the significant increase in tourism to Israel over the past two years. of national, international and tourist importance. "
The ministry claims that the cableway system will have 3,000 passengers in each direction during peak hours and will be connected to the mass transit system planned in Jerusalem. The cableway provides an exceptional transport solution in the area with topographical limitations, limited capacity of road infrastructure as well as historical and archaeological sites. Unlike other methods, this means of transport above the ground does not require significant areas, nor does it require construction or extension of roads.
It is also a "green project" characterized by minimal environmental damage, silent technology and zero pollution.
"A project of great importance"
In May, the government approved the bill proposed by Levin to allocate 200 million NIS from the Ministry of Tourism to build a cable car. The project will be implemented by the Jerusalem Development Office.
According to a press release from the Ministry of Tourism, the cableway project "represents a significant milestone in promoting Jerusalem and strengthening its status as world tourism capital, with the aim of significantly increasing the flow of tourism to the country and strengthening its economy. Jerusalem and its unique sites, will also help to strengthen and develop the night tourist product of the city …
"The queue will provide transport and environmental solutions, as well as make the Old Town accessible to disabled people." On the feast of three monotheistic religions, tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands visit the Old Town. Currently, access to non-resident vehicles is forbidden in most parts of the Old Cities and therefore the queue is described as a project of great importance for tourism in Jerusalem. "
Ilanit Melchior, director of the Jerusalem Development Authority, told JNS that "the project is moving ahead, we are building a cable car."