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Environmental activists lose appeal against planned highway in Jerusalem’s ‘green backyard’

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

Artist's rendering of the new neighborhood of Reches Lavan and the two-tier transportation system being proposed. (YouTube screesnhot)
Artist's rendering of the new neighborhood of Reches Lavan and the two-tier transportation system being proposed. (YouTube screesnhot)

Environmental and social activists lose an appeal to the National Planning and Building Committee to cancel a planned two-level road at the Ora junction on the edges of southwest Jerusalem.

A spokesperson for the Society for the Protection of Nature, which has actively campaigned against the split-level road as well as plans to build some 5,000 residential units at Reches Lavan, a popular, pastoral site of agricultural terraces and springs nearby, says it is considering its next steps.

Reches Lavan (White Ridge) — named for its light, chalky rock — is located near the Jerusalem Zoo and the southwest neighborhoods of Kiryat Hayovel, Givat Masua and Ein Kerem, and Moshav Ora just outside the city.

Home to Mediterranean vegetation and large mammals such as mountain gazelles and hyenas, the whole area, with its natural springs and spring-fed pools, serves as a green backyard for Jerusalemites and a popular weekend meeting place.

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