Tourism Minister Attacks EU, NIF Conference to Kill Old City Cable Car

Israel

Photo Credit: YouTube screenshot

An artist’s rendering of the Jerusalem cable car.

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) on Tuesday sent a furious letter to Lars Faaborg-Andersen, Head of the European Union Delegation to Israel, in response to the EU’s plan, together with the New Israel Fund, to sponsor a conference against the construction of an aerial cable car in the Old City of Jerusalem.

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The conference will be held on Thursday by the anti-Zionist Emek Hashaveh NGO and PA officials.

According to NGO Monitor, in 2018 Emek HaShaveh received $29,800 from the New Israel Fund. It received similar contributions annually from the NIF, starting in 2015.

“I was stunned to find out that the EU is involved in the conference and gives it its support,” Minister Levin wrote. “This is a blatant and unacceptable intervention in Israel’s internal affairs and its sovereign decisions. Which of the European Union countries would have agreed that another country interfere in such a decision on their soil?”

“The EU’s support for the conference is nothing but a clear expression of superficiality, prejudice, and the unilateral adoption of the extreme positions intended to harm not only the sovereignty of the State of Israel and its citizens, but also the experience provided to tourists of all faiths and nationalities who come to Jerusalem,” Levin stressed.

”The nature and character of the conference is also indicated by the fact that, alongside the EU, the conference is supported by the extreme-left organization, the New Israel Fund,” Levin noted, adding, “I expect that you will act immediately to remove the European Union’s support for the conference and that the EU will cease to intervene in Israel’s internal affairs.”

Levin’s letter was first reported by Yedioth Ahronoth. The Jewish Press Online provided a translation of the Hebrew text.

The cable car to the Kotel is a venture of the Jerusalem Municipality for the Old City basin, to meet the heavy traffic load there. On April 30, 2013, then Mayor Nir Barkat announced that the cable car would start operating in two years. It didn’t. On May 28, 2017, the Israeli government approved the venture and its construction was scheduled to be completed by 2021. In May 2018, the government approved a 200 million shekel budget for the project, a sum that was Subsequently updated to 220 million.

The cable car will also serve as a tourist attraction, allowing passengers to view from above the most visited area in Israel.

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