40% of light rail trains damaged in E. Jerusalem riots

Delays expected in the capital; tickets unavailable for purchase at Shuafat station

Marissa Newman is The Times of Israel political correspondent.

The Jerusalem light rail (Kobi Gideon / Flash90)
The Jerusalem light rail (Kobi Gideon / Flash90)

Nine of the 23 light rail trains in Jerusalem have been damaged by rock-throwers in the eastern part of the city and are no longer operational, the transportation company responsible for the trains announced Sunday.

In light of the damage to some 40 percent of its trains, delays are expected throughout the city, CityPass said in a statement.

Moreover, passengers will not be able to purchase tickets at the Es-Sahl Shuafat rail stop, a flashpoint for much of the violence, until further notice.

The light rail has been the site of repeated rock attacks since the lead-up to this summer’s conflict in the Gaza Strip. In late August, the company said that 15 of the 23 trains were damaged by rocks.

On Saturday night there were five separate attacks to the train in the Shuafat neighborhood, Ynet reported, with four of them resulting in damage to tram windows. No arrests have been made.

Security forces said last Wednesday they had arrested two men for throwing rocks at passing cars and the Jerusalem light rail.

The CityPass announcement came weeks after accusations by the CEO of the Jerusalem light rail and by a Housing Ministry official that the Jerusalem police and the ministry attempted to cover up violent incidents in East Jerusalem.

According to CityPass CEO Yaron Ravid, police requested that CityPass not report rock-throwing attacks against the light rail because it harms police and encourages the offenders. In response, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat stressed that he believed security forces must respond in a “harsh and uncompromising manner to any instances of violence carried out by rioters” in the capital. In a statement to The Times of Israel, the mayor further said he sought to “end the policy in which the courts release the rioters quickly and without severe punishment.”

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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