EU sparks outrage as it meddles in Jerusalem cable car project

“Would any of the countries in the European Union agree to allow another country to involve itself in an issue such as this?” Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said.

By World Israel News Staff

The Europen Union (E.U.) is attempting to intervene in Israel’s plan to build a cable car to the Old City of Jerusalem.

E.U. representatives will be attending a conference scheduled for this Thursday to discuss the “cable car problem” with members from Emek Shaveh, a pro-Palestinian Israeli NGO, and the New Israel Fund, the largest U.S. donor to pro-Palestinian causes.

In response, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin wrote an angry letter to the E.U. representative in Israel, reports Yediot Aharonot.

In the letter published by the Israeli news outlet, Levin wrote  “I was astounded to see that the European Union is involved in the conference and supports it. This is a gross and unacceptable interference in Israel’s internal affairs and its sovereign decisions.”

“Would any of the countries in the European Union agree to allow another country to involve itself in an issue such as this? The E.U.’s support of the conference is nothing but clear proof of its superficiality, prejudice, and one-sided adoption of extremist stances which aim to harm not only the State of Israel’s sovereignty and its citizens, but even the experience provided to tourists of all religions and nationalities who come to Jerusalem,” he wrote.

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“The fact that in addition to the European Union, the conference is sponsored by the extreme left New Israel Fund also tells of its content and character. I expect that you will act immediately to remove the E.U.’s support for the conference and that the E.U. will cease interfering in Israel’s internal affairs,” Levin concluded.

The proposed line will start at the First Station near Mt. Zion and run through two more stops before arriving at the Ir David (David’s City) tourist compound in the Silwan neighborhood, located right across from the Dung Gate entrance to the Western Wall. The 73 cable cars will span across 1.4 kilometers and be able to transport 3,000 back and forth to the Old City.

The government initially approved its construction in honor of the 50th anniversary of the unification of Jerusalem in May 2017. On Nov. 5, 2019, the Housing Cabinet headed by Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon approved the 220 million shekels (approximately 62 million dollars) for the project.

On Nov.27, Emek Shaveh petitioned the Supreme Court to halt the project based on legal grounds that a caretaker government cannot approve such a wide-scale project.

“The government has not been able to approve budgets for the disabled and for health, yet it manages to approve a budget of 220 million shekels for a tourism venture,” the organization said in a statement.

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“In our opinion, a transitional government is not authorized to approve national projects of this magnitude and with such significant political implications for Jerusalem. The appeal to the High Court is intended to prevent the destructive impact that a cable car will have on the Old City landscape and on the fragile political situation in Jerusalem,” the statement added.