The Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee has given final approval for the Jerusalem light rail Blue Line to run along Emek Refaim, after receiving a recommendation from the Jerusalem Local Planning and Building Committee. The recommendation asked the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee, "To work to push forward effectively and as soon as possible due to the importance of the plan for the city and its continued development."
The decision marks the end of a three year struggle between supporters and opponents of the route of the Blue Line through Emek Refaim, the main thoroughfare in the German Colony. This is only a short section of the 23 kilometer Blue Line, which when completed will extend from Ramot in the north of the city to Gilo in the south.
The opponents of the plan, who all live in Emek Refaim or have businesses there, set up an organization, raised hundreds of thousands of shekels, hired a PR agency and opened a Facebook page called "Stop the Emek Refaim train."
Prof. Ariel Hirschfeld of the Department of Hebrew Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who lives in the area, wrote an article in "Haaretz" describing Emek Refaim as a part of the city's history and Israel's cultural heritage and a major tourist site and that the light railway in Emek Refaim would destroy part of historic Jerusalem.
Two months ago the Jerusalem District Court ruled that the plan must be re-approved by the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee after it was first approved by the Jerusalem Local Planning and Building Committee, which discussed and approved the plan last month saying it was the correct and appropriate plan.
The Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee in its latest decision described the plan as having major environmental and urban advantages.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 19, 2020
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