Israel Railways CEO Shahar Ayalon to step down

Last week, a war of words broke out between Ayalon and Transportation Minister Israel Katz as a result of persistent malfunctions on the new electrified railway.

December 26, 2018 13:55
1 minute read.
A woman walks on a platform in front of a train as passengers are seen through the carriage windows

A woman walks on a platform in front of a train as passengers are seen through the carriage windows at Tel Aviv's HaShalom train station, Israel November 25, 2018. Picture taken November 25, 2018. (photo credit: REUTERS/CORINNA KERN)


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Shahar Ayalon will end his tenure as CEO of Israel Railways in three months’ time, the company said on Wednesday.

The decision, approved by the Israel Railways board of directors, follows ongoing problems affecting the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv high-speed railway line and overcrowding across the network, in addition to a third-quarter loss of some NIS 273 million.

“As two people who have served the State of Israel and its citizens their entire lives, we saw the need to settle and solve the crisis that has been created,” said Ayalon and board chairman Dan Harel in a joint statement. “We see the conclusion that we reached as the realization of our shared responsibility for the needs of the railway as an important national project.”

A committee will be established to appoint Ayalon’s successor.

Ayalon’s departure after two years at the helm of the company comes a week after a war of words broke out with Transportation Minister Israel Katz over persistent malfunctions on the new electrified railway.

After Katz suggested that workers may have deliberately contributed to the faults on the line due to disputes with the workers’ groups, Ayalon told Army Radio that he rejected any such claims.

“The workers are putting in great effort, working on the railways on Fridays and Saturdays, and working come rain or shine,” Ayalon said. “Our workers are loyal.”

Israel Railways is currently facing a shortage of approximately 150 train carriages to adequately fulfill the demand of the network, Ayalon said, but does not have the resources at its disposal to order the necessary infrastructure.

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