Authorities promote plan to extend Tel Aviv-Jerusalem fast train to Western Wall

Authorities have given approval to a controversial plan to place a train station in the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City and whisk tourists from Ben-Gurion Airport to the Western Wall, Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich’s office says.

In a statement, Smotrich’s office says the plan, initiated by his predecessor Israel Katz, had been hindered over the past year.

The plan involves extending the high-speed Jerusalem-Tel Aviv train line to the Old City. The plan would involve constructing two underground stations and excavating over two miles (three kilometers) of tunnel beneath downtown Jerusalem and under the politically and historically sensitive Old City — a project likely to raise fierce opposition by archaeologists, religious authorities and Palestinians. The Western Wall is the holiest site where Jews are allowed to pray.

Smotrich praises the development as “historic,” adding that the new train line “is huge news for Israeli residents and the millions of tourists who come to Jerusalem.”

“We are also succeeding in promoting the Zionist and Jewish agenda,” he says.

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