Israel is poised to reward President Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as its capital – by naming a train station near the Western Wall after him, according to reports.
(NYPOST) Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz is going full steam ahead with a plan to extend the city’s future high-speed rail line to the Western Wall, where he wants Trump’s name to grace a station, Ynet News of Israel reported.
“The Western Wall is the holiest site of the Jewish people,” Katz said, “and I have decided to name the train station leading to it after the president of the United States, Donald Trump, following his courageous and historic decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.”
The “Donald John Trump station” is one of two stations proposed for the extension of a line nearing completion between Tel Aviv and the western entrance to Jerusalem.
Katz called the rail extension to the Old City “the Transportation Ministry’s most important national project.” The station would allow visitors to reach “the beating heart of the Jewish people — the Western Wall and the Temple Mount,” he said.
Transportation Ministry spokesman Avner Ovadia said Wednesday the project is estimated to cost more than $700 million and, if approved, would take four years to complete.
The Western Wall is visited annually by about 11 million people. When its line begins operating, four trains will pass hourly, or as many as six an hour during holiday peak periods, Ynet reported.
A special car will be allocated to VIPs, allowing to shuttle any high-ranking guests directly from Ben Gurion Airport to the “Trump” station near the Wall.
In May, Trump became the first sitting US president to visit the Western Wall when he visited the site while on a tour of several Middle East countries.
On Dec. 6, he reversed decades of US policy and enraged Palestinians and much of the Arab world with his decision and his promise to eventually move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution last week rejecting Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — with several traditional American allies voting in favor of the motion.
It is unlikely the international community – which doesn’t recognize Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem and the Old City — will be all aboard for the Western Wall proposal.
Also, digging railroad tunnels to the Western Wall would involve excavating in the Old City, where religious and political sensitivities — as well as archaeological remains from the city’s 3,000-year history — could prove a logistical and legal headache.
But Ovadia doesn’t expect the likely opposition will derail the ambitious plans, which he said are likely to be given a green light in the coming year.
The Tel Aviv-Jerusalem high-speed line is expected to open in time for Passover in April 2018, according to the Times of Israel.
“There’s no reason why this train won’t be built,” he said. “We already know how to deal with no less difficult opposition.”