Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Only In Israel: Train Station Armored Against Missile Attacks

כ"ב לחודש העשירי תשע"ד

Arutz 7: Sderot Train Station Dedicated; Armored Against Missile Attacks
Prime Minister, Transportation Minister, Israel Railways officials dedicate station, which is the first to be armored against rockets.

Tova Dvorin, December 24, 2013

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Minister Transportation Yisrael Katz dedicated the first train station to be armored against missile attacks in Israel in the southern city of Sderot. The ceremony was also attended by the Chairman of Israel Railways, Doron Weiss, and its CEO, Boaz Tzafrir.

The Prime Minister said at the ceremony, "Today we mark a holiday, a landmark in realizing the vision to connect all of Israel - from Kiryat Shmona to Eilat."

"Everything is accessible, everything is connected and it's changing the face of transportation on a practical level," he continued. "Everything we wish we manage we can do only if we keep our security."

The Transportation Minister added, "There is an atmosphere here of sincere celebration because Sderot is a national icon."

S'deroth Train Station

Sderot has been pummeled by rockets and mortar shells from Hamas terrorists in Gaza over several years. The Western Negev city was the target of a barrage of missiles during Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012. Despite this, the city continues to rebuild - even thrive.

"The Prime Minister and myself have decided to connect the Negev and Galilee to the heart of this country," Katz continued. "With every train [we build] we always say that [the decision] is 'not economic.' Maybe to the Finance Ministry it is not economic, but to the residents here it is very economic!" (cont.)

Esser Agaroth (2¢):
In addition to S'deroth residents, those benefiting from the new station include students and lecturers at Sapir Academic College. The continuation of the above report includes mention of the kilometer long bike and pedestrian path which leads to the college.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has been a long time supporter of the railways and moves to extend it. Personally, I have

I do not believe that those outside of Israel realize just how many Israelis along benefit from Israels railways. Slowly, but sure, the railways have been extended inland, first to K'far Saba, then a refurbishment of the old curving route from Tel-Aviv, through Beth Shemesh to southern Jerusalem, and most recently to Modi'in.

Soon, we hope to have our highly anticipated speed train from Jerusalem's Central Bus Station to Ben-Gurion International Airport and Tel-Aviv.

Plans are also underway to connect Haifa with Beth Sha'an on the Jordanian border, via Afulah. The completion of the extension from Ashqelon to Be'er Sheva, through the new S'deroth station, and the addition of a station at Qiriyath Malachi are also expected in the near future. Will the future stations at Netivoth and Ofaqim also be armored? These towns have also been targets of Hamas rockets.

Israel Railway Map, Southern Portion

Prime Minister Netanyahu's vision of nation wide rail connections "from Qiriyat Shemona to Eilat" actually has a chance of coming to fruition. There still may be some concerns over the environmental sensitivity of potential routes south to Eilat, Israel's port city on the Red Sea. When will this finally happen? Will it be in competition with President Shimon Peres's pet "Valley Of Peace" project, which is expected to include a railway from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea?

Will all of the hints to the [God forbid!] abandonment of the Galilee be combated by the railway extensions in the north of the country?

Also on the political front, could Transportation Minister Yisra'el Katz's jab at the Finance Ministry have really been intended for the finance minister himself, Yair Lapid, who has been rumored to be looking into options for political party alliances other than his current Likud partner?

We will hopefully received the answers to these questions and more in the future.

Stay tuned, as Israel's political saga continue.

In the meantime, hop on the train, and go for a ride!

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