The Jerusalem Development Authority has initiated plans for a dwarf version of the London Eye on a promenade that links mainly Palestinian East Jerusalem with the city’s Jewish West.
The big Ferris wheel, which would be around half the size of its 135-meter (443 feet)-high British inspiration, is being proposed for a point on the western section of the Armon Hanatziv Promenade, near Hebron Road in south Jerusalem.
If built — plans are understood to be at an early stage — it will join other projects envisioned for the promenade that include a series of slides going down the slopes and a zipline starting from a new visitors’ center being developed by the right-wing City of David Foundation close to the entrance to the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood. The foundation has already built a campsite in the Peace Forest, just below the western end of the promenade, close to the neighborhood of Abu Tor.
According to the Haaretz newspaper, plans also call for a sculpture garden, bicycle paths, a music center and eateries.
Six hotels are planned for a site opposite the promenade.
The JDA is a joint agency of the Israeli government and the Jerusalem Municipality charged with promoting and developing the city’s economy.
In a statement, the municipality said that it was advancing a “development and renewal program” for the area of the promenade, together with the JDA and the Tourism and Jerusalem Affairs ministries.
The aim was to “renew the promenades [there are three that are linked, named for the three donors — Sherover, Haas and Goldman]… upgrade the tourists’ experience and develop the area as a hub of culture, leisure and entertainment for tourists and city residents.”
Instead of responding to specific questions about the big wheel, the statement simply said that a “wide range” of activities were being considered.
It is understood that the wheel would be put up during the tourist season and then taken down.
The JDA is also behind controversial, and largely unpopular, plans for a cable car to link West Jerusalem’s First Station culture complex with the Old City’s Dung Gate, the closest entrance to the Western Wall, which helps to support Judaism’s most venerated site, the Temple Mount. That project, approved by the government, is currently the subject of a High Court appeal.
Terror attacks, most recently a ramming attack in 2017 that killed four Israeli soldiers and injured 11, have turned the scenic promenade, with its impressive views of the Old City, into a no-go area for many Israelis and tourists, which the JDA wishes to reverse.
Mekudeshet (Sanctified), a nonprofit organization that uses art and culture inspired by Jerusalem to bring city communities together, is currently holding events on the Gabriel Sherover Promenade every Wednesday, from 4:30 to 7 p.m., featuring music, yoga, and creative stops at points along the walkways.