On Thursday morning, a train inspector at the Bat Yam train station ordered a Chareidi couple not to board the train. “Chareidim don’t board,’ he shouted.
Secular bystanders intervened, telling the couple to board the train anyway and started filming the scene while the inspector shouted at them not to record it.
The video was uploaded to social media, where it created quite a stir on Israeli media. Chareidi politicians slammed it as another display of anti-Chareidi sentiment and Transportation Minister Miri Regev ordered an immediate investigation into the matter.
But as it turned out, the “train inspector” was an imposter.
An official statement from Israel Railways said: “A video was published on the Internet in which a man with a yellow vest was seen on the train platform and speaking to passengers. It was clarified that the person is not an employee of Israel Railways. The man was immediately evicted from the station by train staff. Israel Railway will consider legal action against him.”
“I was shocked to see the horrifying video from Israel Railways,” said Transportation Minister Miri Regev. “I instructed the director of the train station to investigate how an imposter succeeded in impersonating a train employee and harming the public. This cannot be allowed to occur.”
But then the plot thickened again. Unbelievably enough, it turned out that the “imposter” was actually an actor hired by the Bnei Brak municipality as an act of protest against the planned route of one of the Tel Aviv metropolitan light rail lines, which is being designed and constructed by the government company NTA Metropolitan Mass Transit System Ltd. Apparently, NTA submitted a route that bypasses Bnei Brak.
An official statement from the Bnei Brak municipality stated that “after all the requests of the Bnei Brak municipality and its residents did not stop the NTA from submitting a route for the metro train that bypasses Bnei Brak, we were forced to ‘illustrate’ the proposal as seen in the video. It should be emphasized that contrary to NTA, Israel Railways does not prevent Chareidim from boarding their trains.”
“Bnei Brak residents make up the majority of public transportation users in the Gush Dan metropolitan area (88%) and has the lowest number of vehicles per person in the area – one car for 10 residents. Despite this, NTA intends to propose a route for the metro that will bypass the Chareidi city and leave it as the only city out of the 24 Gush Dan cities without a station.”
“The M2 line is a broad route from Rosh HaAyin in the east to Tel Aviv in the west and on the way it passes through Petach Tikvah, Givat Shmuel and Ramat Gan. In an outrageous decision, NTA announced that they’re submitting a route without the two stations planned for Bnei Brak.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)