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Infrastructure committee advances controversial Jerusalem cable car plan

The National Infrastructure Committee approves a controversial plan to to link West Jerusalem to the Old City by a cable car, passing the project on to the government for the next stages of approval.

The committee approved the Tourism Ministry-backed plan despite dozens of objections by local residents, archaeologists, tour guides, NGOs, environmentalists and city planners, as well as the Karaite and Christian communities.

“The plan offers a real solution to the problems of difficult access to the southeastern part of the Old City,” the committee said in the statement announcing its decision.

Architect’s impression of the planned cable car station on Mount Zion. The Dormition Church can be seen to the left. (From plans submitted to the National Planning Council)

The NIS 200 million ($55.2 million) plan calls for a 1.4-kilometer (nearly a mile) track running from the First Station shopping area over a valley mainly populated by East Jerusalem Palestinians to the Old City’s Dung Gate, near the Western Wall.

Supporters of the plan say it will attract tourists and is the greenest, least disruptive, and most financially feasible way to get tourists to and from the holy site.

Opponents, however, say that the plan is obtrusive, culturally and politically irresponsible, and that rather than solving traffic problems it will simply shift gridlocks to other parts of the city.

— with Sue Surkes

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