Aiming to significantly shorten the travel time between the country's southern periphery and center, a new railway station in the city of Netivot opened its doors on Sunday.
Located just about 15 kilometers east of Gaza and due south of the city of Sderot, the station at Netivot is part of a larger construction plan of a 60-kilometer railway line between the southern coastal city of Ashkelon and Beersheba - located eastward in the northern Negev Desert. About a year ago, a station at Sderot opened as part of the project, while a station at Ofakim - about halfway between Netivot and Beersheba - is expected to be complete by the end of the year, the Transportation Ministry said.
"The train to Netivot brings truly good news to the residents of Netivot and the South," said Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, during a inaugural train trip from the station Sunday morning. "I fought to get this train off the ground and I feel a great sense of satisfaction."
Katz was joined on his journey Sunday by Transportation Ministry director-general Uzi Yitzhaki, Netivot mayor Yechiel Zohar and Israel Railways CEO Boaz Zafrir.