High Court instructs State to Clarify Position on Cable Car Following Transport Minister’s Opposition to the Plan

In what was slated to be the final High Court hearing today on the controversial cable car project, the High Court has given the state 21 days to explain its position in light of a statement by Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli that she opposed the plan.

In her statement on Friday, Michaeli said that the “the cable car has no significant transportation role, and the harm will exceed the benefits.” Michaeli also added that “it is necessary to give adequate consideration to the harm to the landscape of the Old City Basin and to our precious heritage assets, as well as to the political and security implications of its advancement.”

In response to a query by Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon, Government Secretary Shalom Shlomo replied that the Minister’s position has no legal status. After three hours of deliberations, during which the attorney for the State reiterated the government secretary’s position, the judges instructed the State to clarify its position in light of Michaeli’s statement within 21 days.

Emek Shaveh Response: We are pleased that after three years, the transport minister has said what we have been saying all along: that the Jerusalem cable car project is not a transportation project and is not an answer to the traffic issues near the Old City. We believe that its value for tourism has also been greatly misrepresented and although the plan is being advanced by the Jerusalem Development Authority and the Tourism Ministry it will primarily benefit a powerful interest group (the Elad Foundation) by transporting thousands of tourists to its hub at the City of David.

We hope that the judges will rule that the approval process for the cable car plan severely undermined principles of good governance and on those grounds decide to put a stop to the plan.