Tel Aviv’s Ayalon Highway, one of the country’s most well-traveled roads, may soon be named for late former president Shimon Peres, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said Sunday.
Katz said he was already weighing the possibility of naming the Ayalon — a major route that runs through the country’s financial and cultural hub — after the elder statesman who died last week. The proposal was put forward by Peres’s family, according to Walla news.
Peres, who served in almost every high office in the Israeli government over his many decades in public life, passed away Wednesday at the age of 93 and was laid to rest Friday in a state funeral attended by dignitaries from around the globe.
“When the shiva is over,” Katz said, referring to the traditional Jewish week of mourning for the deceased, “I arranged to sit with the family and together weigh all the options, including this one.”
Katz noted that Peres served as transportation minister and was instrumental in getting the Ayalon built.
The highway runs from Rishon Letzion at its southern end to Herzliya, skirting Tel Aviv’s east side and serving hundreds of thousands of commuters on any given day.
The freeway is currently named for the Ayalon River, much of which was covered up by the highway.
After Peres’s death, a popular meme online suggested naming the freeway for him as it connected the Haganah (defense), Hashalom (peace) and University train stations, representing Peres’s three major contributions to Israeli society.
The mayor of Givatayim, a Tel Aviv suburb which abuts the Ayalon highway, also reportedly proposed naming the city’s main thoroughfare after the president.
Since Hashalom Street intersects with the Ayalon, naming both after the president would cause no small confusion.
Israel traditionally honors major roads by naming them after political leaders after their death. Route 6, or the Trans-Israel Highway — which runs from the Galilee in the north to Beersheba down south — is officially dedicated as the Yitzhak Rabin Highway, after the late former prime minister who worked with Peres on the Oslo Accords. And Highway 50 in Jerusalem is named after another late prime minister, Menachem Begin.
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