Jerusalem train station 390.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The Environmental Protection Ministry has ordered Israel Railways to cease night
work on the portion of the high-speed Jerusalem-to-Tel Aviv train that passes
through Mevaseret Zion due to noise disturbances.
Filing a court order
against CEO of Israel Railways, Boaz Tzafrir, as well as the contractors working
on his behalf, the ministry demanded on Tuesday that all work on the rail line
in Mevaseret stop at night.
The noise, according to the ministry, is
“unreasonable,” and the company has already ignored a number of past ministry
requests. Failure to comply will lead to a criminal investigation and a maximum
penalty of up to NIS 404,000 per night of violation, the ministry
“The residents are entitled to peace and quiet in their homes,
especially at night,” said Environmental Protection Minister Gilad
“Israel Rail is not above the law and I will not allow it to
destroy the quality of life of local residents.”
The Environment Ministry
filed for the court decree after conducting a survey among Mevaseret Zion homes,
which indicated a large number of complaints from residents in the region about
the unusually loud noise occurring as a result of heavy work at night, the
In response, Israel Railways criticized the ministry’s
method of demanding work cessation and slammed the government office for
jeopardizing Israeli national interests.
“The decree of the Environmental
Protection Ministry endangers a national project, of a high-speed connection
between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv with an investment of NIS 8 billion, which is
expected to revolutionize transportation – reducing air pollution and traffic
accidents on the busiest roads that ascend to and descend from Jerusalem,” a
statement from Israel Railways said. “Every obstacle will postpone the
activation of the line, will directly hurt Jerusalem residents and will bring
serious economic damage to the State of Israel.”
The statement provided
assurance that the company would abide by every court order it receives, but
said that it is also currently examining the legality of the decree.
court order, according to Israel Railways, passed without discussion and with
ministry representatives neglecting to tour the work site, after receiving an
invitation from the body authorized to supervise environmental aspects of the
site. This body, the company explained, includes representatives from the
Transportation, Interior and Environmental Protection ministries.
court order that was received is based on examinations of noise levels that were
not supplied to Israel Railways and is incompatible with previous tests that
were performed in the past, and whose results were transferred to the
Environmental Protection Ministry,” the statement said.