Jerusalemites to Tel Avivians: Light rail worth it

Tel Aviv light rail work

Jerusalemites, who suffered last decade, tell Tel Avivians that there is light at the end of the light rail construction tunnel.

The owners of Tel Aviv businesses that will be affected by the construction work on the light trail can only imagine the frustration it will cause them over the next few years. But those who walked this path before them the business owners in Jerusalem have a clear message to their colleagues: be patient.

"I tell Tel Aviv residents breath deep, you will be going through a rough patch," said Nissan, a businessman, to Channel 2 news. Yoram, who owns a jewelry store in the Israeli capital offered similar advice. "I suggest to all the residents of Tel Aviv to be patient, it will take a long time."

Yoram recalled his personal experience with the construction of the light rail in Jerusalem. "We closed our shops, it was dirty and messy. This is the time, Tel Avivians, to cut back. I hope the municipality will help, but it will likely be pennies, as usual."

One Jerusalemite had a much harsher warning in store. "If the Tel Avivians think they live in heaven, from now on it will be hell," said Shimon, "The mother of all hells. Whoever has the chance to move away for six or seven years go. The mice and rats will party in the streets."

"Look quickly for an apartment in any kibbutz or town, get out of Tel Aviv until it's over," said several of the capital city's older residents. "They tell you, one year, two years, three years and it ends up a decade, minimum. Run. We suffered for ten years, everything as shut down. For ten years it was Stalingrad here. Now the Tel Avivians will feel it. There it's only two to three times bigger!"

Several business owners in Jerusalem said the damage was critical and long term. "The number of clients who pass through today is about one third as much as before the train," said Meir. "If I had friends there, I would tell them to close up shop. I cannot pay salaries today. We received no compensation and they raised our arnona (municipal tax). They promised us growth, but I have nowhere to load and unload goods. No supplier will come near. We need to sneak around illegally to bring in goods."

He warned emphatically: "They should close up and go home."

"The train is a blight rail not a light rail," said Yossi Cohen, a store owner in Jerusalem. "People don't walk on the light rail streets because there are no bus stations there. I gave my store to three agents but I cannot sell it. I warn the Tel Avivians sell your businesses."

And then there are those who offer a slight hint of optimism. "I am for the train, over time it is worthwhile," said Effi, a Jerusalem resident. "It saves time. The residents of Tel Aviv will suffer slightly but you need to look to the future."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 29, 2015

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2015

Tel Aviv light rail work
Tel Aviv light rail work
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