(VIDEO & PHOTO LINKS AT END OF ARTICLE) No one can argue that the Wednesday night dedication of Jerusalem’s new Meitarim (String) Bridge was indeed an event. The one-hour choreographed performance with its NIS 2 million price tag did indeed make an impression.
The lasers were in sync and the white balloons reached for the sky as the Jerusalem Pirchei Choir provided background music, along with Dudu Fisher and others.
The first speaker was Mayor Uri Lupoliansky, who boldly drew analogies surrounding the Eiffel Tower 120 years ago, the Brooklyn Bridge 140 years ago, and Jerusalem’s Meitarim Bridge today, expressing confidence that in the coming years, it too will be accepted by all as a significant landmark in the modern-day capital. The mayor explained the strings are no coincidence, but a symbol of King David’s harp, connecting the old and new in line with Jewish tradition.
The mayor quoted from the prophets and did his best to tie in the old and the new, stating Yerushalayim of yesteryear is indeed enhanced by the new Jerusalem bridge of today.
The next speaker was Deputy Prime Minister and Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, who spoke of the connection between the past and present, the today and the future, stating that the bridge will be open in two years, when the light rail system is launched, which will be the most sophisticated mass transit system in the country. He explained that phase one of the light rail will span from Pisgat Ze’ev to Mount Herzl, and in the future, it will eventually travel to Hadassah.
Mr. Mofaz also spoke of the plan to construct the underground rail system, which in the coming years will make it possible to travel from Yerushalayim to Tel Aviv in 30 minutes.
The final of the three dignitaries was Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who as mayor of Jerusalem undertook the bridge project. He was heckled and booed, and his words were by and large ignored. Upon completion of his short remarks, he was heckled some more.
The night from an entertainment perspective was an impressive event. As far as the bridge, it is a hard sale – over priced, over budget, over deadline, and worst of all, it has structural flaws.
In the big picture, many view it as inappropriate for the Jerusalem skyline, and a project that seems to drag on endlessly, together with the light rail system with its delays, perhaps a project well suited to the likes of former Mayor Ehud Olmert.
The ceremony also marked the official end of Yerushalayim’s 40th anniversary of liberation events.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel / Video & Photos by Yehuda Boltsausher & Co. – YWN Israel)