Shapir Engineering & Industry Ltd. (TASE: SPEN) and Italian company Pizzaroti will build and maintain the new entrance highway to Jerusalem - Road 16 - for 25 years. Construction of the project is estimated to cost NIS 1 billion and the project will be undertaken on a PPP basic - Public private Partnership. Building will begin next year and the highway is scheduled to open for traffic in 2023. The award to Shapir and Pizzaroti was announced earlier today by the Inter-Ministerial Committee Tenders Committee.
The new highway will provide Jerusalem with an additional western entrance, serving southern and western suburbs. The 5 kilometer highway, branching off from Road 1 at the Motza Interchange, will include two tunnels under Har Nof and Yefe Nof and new interchanges at Givat Shaul and adjacent to Shaarei Zedek Hospital.
AMSTERDAM — Last year, Ron Simpson was still managing talent for a living.
But within just a few months Simpson, a 34-year-old Jewish marketing professional and producer from Amsterdam with no experience in running a restaurant, launched an international chain of eateries with a partner. It is so wildly popular and innovative that seasoned food critics are celebrating it as a cultural symbol and zeitgeist indicator.
Not everyone in the Jerusalem area has a car, and that can make it difficult to get to the beach on a hot summer day. In Tel Aviv, for example, you'll have to get on another bus or taxi to get to the beach from the central bus station or the Arlozorov train station. But there are a few beaches that are right next to the bus station, one stop from Jerusalem:
Ashdod: The bus from jerusalem to Ashdod takes just a bit over an hour, and the central bus station is a short walk to the beach. Take the 438 or 448 bus from inside Jerusalem bus station tp get to the Mei Ami and Lido beaches.
Haifa: Take the train from Jerusalem's Malcha station to Haifa, and you have Hof Hacarmel a few steps from your train. Note that the bus trip is more than three hours, and requires a few transfers though.
Dead Sea: It's not the Mediterranean, but the Dead Sea is also a great day out. Take the 486 or 444 bus to Eilat, and get off at Ein Bokek, where the hotel district is. That trip is about two hours
Several exciting infrastructure projects are in the works to make touring Israel more convenient, memorable and accessible. The time is right, as tourism stats are spiking ever higher.
During 2017, a record 3.6 million tourists entered Israel, a 25 percent increase over 2016. Between January and June 2018, a record-breaking 2 million tourist entries were recorded, a 19% increase on the same period last year. The most popular destinations are Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, the Dead Sea, Tiberias and the Galilee.
ISRAEL21c looks at seven projects in various stages of planning and construction. Please note that estimated completion dates are subject to change.
1. Cable car in Jerusalem
About 85% of tourists to Israel visit the iconic religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. However, although special arrangements can be made for visitors with mobility limitations, accessibility is problematic. Buses and cars battle heavy traffic; parking is inadequate. Pedestrians encounter stairs, uneven cobblestones and narrow alleys.
That's why Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin wasn't exaggerating when he said that a planned cable car "will change the face of Jerusalem, offering tourists and visitors easy and comfortable access to the Western Wall, and will serve as an outstanding tourism attraction in its own right."
On Jerusalem Day last May, the government approved Levin's proposal to invest $56 million in building a 1,400-meter cable car route from the First Station leisure compound (offering ample parking and bus transportation) to the Dung Gate, the entrance nearest to the Davidson Center-Jerusalem Archeological Park and Western Wall.
Estimated to be operational in 2021, the cable car will stop along the way at the Mount of Olives, Mount Zion and City of David. An estimated 3,000 people could be transported hourly in each direction.
2. The fast rail between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem
This extraordinary rail line will revolutionize travel between the country's two biggest cities, replacing a traffic-snarled 60-kilometer (37-mile) trip of about an hour, or sometimes more in rush hour, with a smooth journey of under 30 minutes.
The fast rail will service Ben-Gurion International Airport, Tel Aviv's four railway stations and a transportation hub alongside Jerusalem's Central Bus Station and light rail.
The $1.9 billion Israel Railways project, involving nine bridges and four tunnels, was supposed to launch last March but repeated delays are leaving everyone waiting impatiently.
Whenever it does start running, perhaps in late September, the fast rail eventually will have four double-decker trains in each direction every hour, each accommodating about 1,000 passengers.
3. Jewish theme park in Dimona
Take a ride on Jacob's Ladder and hold on tight for the People of the Book roller coaster — two of the 16 rides planned for Park Pla-im (Park of Wonders) to be constructed in the southern city of Dimona.
Advertised as a Jewish theme park promoting universal values, Park Pla-im reportedly has been designed by ITEC Entertainment of Florida, which designs theme parks internationally.
The $400 million tourist destination will include five "worlds," each with four or five rides: Oasis, World of Spirits, World of the Jewish Nation, World of Society and World of Time.
The projected opening date of Park Pla-im is 2023. Hotels and other tourist amenities are planned near the theme park, with potential for turning this desert town south of Beersheva and the Dead Sea into an inviting attraction. There's already a luxury hotel in town, the Drachim.
4. Eilat Ramon Airport
Located 18 kilometers north of Eilat, Israel's premiere tourist resort at the northern tip of the Red Sea, Israel's new 34,000-square-meter international airport will replace the Eilat J. Hozman Airport in the center of Eilat and Ovda Airport 60 kilometers north of the city.
From October 2017 to April 2018, the critical winter season, 145,841 airline passengers landed in Ovda, arriving on about 50 weekly flights from Europe. That's a 56% increase over the 2016-17 winter season.
It is expected that the new airport – slated to open in early 2019 – will lead to even greater numbers of domestic and foreign tourists.
5. Crusader Wall Promenade
The Crusader Wall Promenade, a newly opened tourist attraction at Caesarea Harbor National Park, involved the preservation and renovation of the Roman-era beach promenade, walls, fortifications and towers as well as the Crusader market.
Funded by the Caesarea Edmond Benjamin de Rothschild Foundation, the Crusader Wall Promenade is part of a larger tourism initiative in the 2,000-year-old port city, which boasts many archeological ruins and attracts half a million visitors every year.
6.. Ecological beach in Eilat
A 200-meter-long stretch of shoreline on the Gulf of Eilat adjacent to the Dolphin Reef is being developed as an ecological beach and environmental education center.
An old pier at the site, formerly used for transporting oil, will be renovated as an environmental tourist attraction – complete with a marine garden, wind chimes and natural climbing structures – as well as a headquarters for Israeli youth group Shomrei Hamifratz (Guardians of the Gulf).
Eilat's coastline encompasses a marine reserve with magnificent coral reefs.
7. Bedouin boutique hotel
Bedouin-style accommodations – desert khans or tents in the Negev or Galilee – are popular with low-budget and back-to-nature tourists.
In the near future there will be a new option in Bedouin tourism experiences in Israel: the world's first hotel in a Bedouin village.
The 120-room, 4-star hotel will be built at the foot of Mount Tabor in the village of Shibli-Umm al-Ghanam.
The Ministry of Tourism has approved a budget to establish a tourism infrastructure in the village, which is strategically located near Christian holy sites, the Gospel Trail and the Israel Trail.
According to Shibli Regional Council Director Na'im Shibli, the hotel will be "based on Bedouin culture, featuring Bedouin hospitality and healthy natural Bedouin cuisine from the Galilee. This will be a luxury hotel unlike any other in Israel, which will give an economic boost to the village and the entire region."
In the past few weeks, close to half a million people have signed a petition calling on the Electric Company to switch to 'kosher electricity' on Shabbos by hiring gentile workers. On Thursday, a meeting was held between Rabbi Binyamin Chota and senior IEC officials in an attempt to reach understandings on the subject.
As reported by YWN-Israel, the utility company stated it would not entertain such a move without a sufficient number of persons requesting it.
Herzl's grave at the top of Mount Herzl.. (photo credit: OREN OPPENHEIM)
Friday, Av 23 in Judaism's lunar calendar – corresponding to August 3 – marks the 69th anniversary of the re-internment of Theodor Herzl (1860-1904). The date in the Gregorian calendar falls on August 17. But while the grave on Mount Herzl today is a landmark atop the highest point in west Jerusalem, other cities in the newborn state nearly claimed the honor of housing the mausoleum of the founder of modern Zionism, said Nomi Rabhan, a tour guide at the Herzl Museum located near the tomb on the Mount Herzl.
Known in Hebrew as Har Hazikaron (the Mount of Memory) as well as Har Herzl, Israel's national cemetery is symbolically located adjoining the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center and the Jerusalem Forest.
Like the biblical leader Moses, Herzl didn't die in Israel, the land they both pined for. But while Moses's remains lie in an unknown location on Mount Nebo in biblical Moab, today Jordan, Herzl's bones were brought for re-burial in the Jewish state he envisioned, in accordance with his last will.
In that document, written in German in 1903, Herzl wrote, "I wish to be buried in a metal coffin near my father, and lie there until the Jewish people will transfer my body to the Land of Israel." He also indicated that he wanted close family members to be buried there as well.
On July 3, 1904, Herzl died of cardiac sclerosis in Edlach, a village near Reichenau an der Rax, Lower Austria, having been diagnosed with heart disease earlier in the year. A day before his death, he told his Zionist colleague Rev. William H. Hechler: "Greet Palestine for me. I gave my heart's blood for my people."
The Zionist visionary, who in 1897 founded the World Zionist Organization, convened the Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland that year, and tirelessly engaged in international diplomatic efforts to gain a charter to establish a Jewish state, was buried in Döbling, Vienna, where he had been living.
In 1949, his remains were brought from the Austrian capital to Jerusalem to be reburied on the top of Mount Herzl. In 2006 his children Hans and Pauline were disinterred from their graves in France and reburied alongside their father. The following year, the remains of his grandson Stephen Theodore Norman were exhumed in Washington, DC, and re-interred alongside his grandfather.
Rabhan told the Post that various reasons prevented the World Zionist Organization from bringing Herzl's remains to Palestine during the British Mandate. In 1949 with the conclusion of the War of Independence, the issue became a priority for the nascent state.
"[David] Ben Gurion's sitting down with his first government… where are they going to start? They have a brand new country," she said, with little infrastructure and no laws. Yet even so, "one of the first things they decided to do" was to bring Herzl's body to Israel, she said.
But where should the father of the country be laid to rest?
Some Israelis called for Herzl to be reburied in Herzliya, the city north of Tel Aviv named in his honor. Others called for him to be re-interred in Tel Aviv, as that city's name is a Hebrew translation of his book Alteneuland (Old-New Land). There were also calls for him to be buried in Haifa, which Herzl rhapsodized over during his only visit to the Land of Israel in 1898.
Ben Gurion, serving as Israel's first prime minister, eventually put his foot down, insisting that Herzl be buried in Jerusalem.
"It's 1949; we've just finished fighting this war and we've lost half this city [Jerusalem]… Ben Gurion thought, what better way to remind people that even though we only have half the city, and we lost the Temple Mount, lost the Kotel [Western Wall], we still have half our capital city, and we have to refocus everyone's attention to this area because we don't want to forget that [Jerusalem] is still a center, focal point [for Israel]," Rabhan said. "What better way of doing that than drawing national attention to this place?"
From the 834-meter-high peak of Mount Herzl, one can view the Temple Mount.
Representatives from every locale in Israel attended the re-internment ceremony. Each in turn poured earth from their locale onto the grave, so that Herzl would be "buried under dirt from every single inch of this land, from the land that he so loved and adored," Rabhan said.
While the Herzl Museum is not commemorating the re-internment, Rabhan said that tours on Friday will mention the occasion. Herzl's grave can be visited with or without a formal tour. Admission is free