Speaking in Knesset last Wednesday, MK Rav Chaim Amsellem of Shas stated the light rail system under construction will not do anything to assist the chareidi community, explaining it does not run in those areas and therefore, it will not provide any relief regarding traffic snarls in chareidi neighborhoods do to vehicular congestion.
He pointed out that today, the chareidim comprise a major proportion of the commuter system and the reason they do not use public transportation even more, despite their large families, is due to their economic status, usually lower income. He questions why the light rail totally ignores chareidi areas if it is being constructed to bring a public transportation solution for the 21st century. He laments that fact that for the chareidi community, travelers will be compelled to continue relying on buses, and they will continue to move from place-to-place in overcrowded buses in poor conditions.
Even worse he explained, the mothers with small children and the many children traveling to schools will now have to change buses several times as a result of the light rail cutting into the system. He questions why such a major project, a multiyear project costing some NIS 2 billion does not even begin to address the needs of the chareidi community.
Amsellem turned to the Knesset Interior Committee to probe the matter. Responding on behalf of Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz was Minister of National Infrastructure Dr. Uzi Landau, who explained there is a plan that calls for constructing a line of the light rail that will pass through all of the chareidi areas of the capital.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)