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Tag: Transport Minister

Israel Lays Down Some New Tracks

According to United Press International, an Israeli railway line in Samaria will lead on to the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s Transport Minister Yisrael Katz made the plans known at a meeting early in the week with supporters of Netanyahu’s Likud Party.

The track begins in Rosh Ha’ayin, near Petach Tikvah in Israel via Ariel to Nablus in the West Bank – and then between Ramallah and Latroun in the West Bank and Israel, respectively.

There passengers could catch a connection to the main line between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Another railway track will also be built between Jenin and Beersheba in Israel’s Negev desert.

Katz declared his wishes to construct train tracks between the Gaza Strip and Yad Mordechai in southern Israel, as well, where passengers may link up to the West Bank railway line or other lines in the Jewish Country.

Israel Railway, according to Haaretz, has invested more than $700,000 in the framework stages of the initial section of the line between Rosh Ha’ayin and Nablus.

The train will link the historic Valley Train to Haifa and the Jerusalem line.

The Valley Train, inaugurated in 1905, once ran from Haifa to Damascus in Syria where it linked up with the Hejaz Railway to Medina in the Arabian Peninsula.

What’s In A Name

What’s in a name? Well, plenty if Israel Transport Minister Israel (or is it Yisrael) Katz has anything to say about it. Katz, a strong right-winger and well known for his often controversial opinions about the Land of Israel (which in his mind includes the entire map of Israel, including Gaza and the West Bank, as well as most of Jordan).

What's In A Name - JerusalemKatz is now trying to push a bill through the Knesset that will require all English versions of road signs, such as Jerusalem, Tiberius, and Caesarea, to be changed to transliterations of the Hebrew version; meaning that Jerusalem will now be spelled Yerushalayim, Tiberius Tiveriya, and so on. Nazareth will become Natsrat and Caesarea will become Kesariya. Arab versions of these names will also be changed to “help bring about more uniformity” according to Yeshaayahu Ronen, head of the ministry’s Transportation Planning Department.

Arab Knesset members, most notably Dr. Ahmad Tibi (United Arab List , Ta’al), denounced the proposed changed as “a blatant de-legitimizing of the Arab language in Israel”. Tibi, who was interviewed along with Katz on Channel 2 TV, said that this will never come to pass” and Al-Quds (the Arab name for Jerusalem) will remain Al-Quds, along with other Arab names of towns, such as Shefa-Amr (the Arab name for Shafaram)”.

In a way, the idea might help making road signs easier to read, as there are often many versions of some names, such as Caesarea, which is often called Qesarya, Qesariyya and Ceysaria.

The political ramifications of objections by Tibi and other Arab parliamentarians are obvious; and if this new bill includes towns in the West Bank, then Arab names like Nablus will become the Hebrew biblical name Shechem. During their television appearance together, MK Tibi said that the government might do well to consider the logistical and financial aspects of such a move “and spend the money that would be required for all these sign changes on better uses, such as improving the infrastructures of Arab towns”. Minister of Minority Affairs Avishay Braverman, appears to be in agreement with MK Tibi, and added that the money that would be spent on such a project should be used to “install much needed signs in Arab communities”.

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