Olive and cypress trees dug up to make way for Jerusalem cable car

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

Illustrative: View of olive trees near Talpiot, Jerusalem, January 27, 2019. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Illustrative: View of olive trees near Talpiot, Jerusalem, January 27, 2019. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Laborers dig up more than 20 olive trees in addition to other species such as cypress to eventually make way for a cable car storage area in the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Tor, Haaretz reports.

Eighteen of the olive trees will be replanted in the nearby Liberty Bell Park.

The Israel Antiquities Authority will now conduct an examination of the site prior to any construction.

The cable car, for which the government has already budgeted NIS 200 million ($54 million), is planned to stretch from the First Station cultural complex in the south of the city to the Old City’s Dung Gate, which is the closest entrance to the Western Wall.

The project’s backers insist that it will be a tourist attraction and will help relieve traffic gridlock caused mainly by tour buses.

The plan’s critics say the cable car will turn Jerusalem’s most precious historic vistas into a theme park. An analysis of traffic data released in July 2020 suggested that an increase in shuttles would be a better, faster and cheaper way of ferrying tourists from southern Jerusalem to the Dung Gate.

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