Transportation Minister Betzalel Smotrich on Tuesday addressed the needs of the chareidi tzibur regarding public transportation, promising MK (Yahadut Hatorah) Yisrael Eichler his office would address those needs in a serious fashion. He promised to meet with officials from all the chareidi municipalities in the near future to discuss their transportation needs.
In a directly related matter, Smotrich on Tuesday also met with representatives of the Har Nof neighborhood of the capital, addressing what some neighborhood residents are calling “the siege” on their community as work is moving ahead on a new line of the Jerusalem light rail and to expand and improve Route 16 simultaneously; effectively creating an untenable situation by severely restricting access to the area via both available routes.
The meeting with community representatives took place in Smotrich’s office, attended by senior ministry officials as well as representatives of Netivei Yisrael, which is responsible for the Route 16 development plan.
Among the over one dozen other participants were the Har Nof officials counted among the leaders of the battle seeking to regain some form of acceptable access to the community; residents Yisrael Elyasaf, Gershon Markowitz, Sari Twersky and Shmuel Greenwald. They were permitted to present the long list of issues to the professions regarding neighborhood access, and it was decided:
1. A visit will take place soon including ministry professionals to permit them to obtain a first-hand understanding of the situation.
2. The professions involved were instructed to arrive with an open mind and without consideration of possible limitations, and then, if necessary, to resolve those limitation.
The meeting was labeled “successful and productive” by the participants, but they add the residents of Har Nof are still preparing an administrative appeal if a solution is not found for one reason or another, adding “We hope such an appeal will be unnecessary”, hoping Smotrich’s office and the other officials will arrive at an acceptable solution.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)