By RON FRIEDMAN
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz approved the design of new road signs on Monday, on which the words "junction," and "interchange" will be replaced with symbols to reduce the number of words and letters on the signs.
Israeli road signs currently offer directions in three languages: Hebrew English and Arabic. The new design is meant to reduce distraction caused by the writing on the signs; a lone symbol will replace 20 letters in all three languages.
Katz said the simplification of the road signs was essential because of the expansion in the road networks, and consequently in the number of junctions and intersections, in recent years.
"The driver must read and respond in real time, while driving. The professional approach demands that we reduce the number of letters and words so that their message will be clear and simple and the driver will have an easier time making a decision while driving," said Katz.
The new designs, which were approved by the Transportation Ministry's traffic planning office director, Yeshayahu Ronen, will be entered in the road signs chart and will be introduced on roads in the coming months.
In July, Katz approved another change to road signs, whereby the English and Arabic names of geographic locations would be changed to ensure consistent spelling and better reflect their Hebrew pronunciation. The plan received criticism, especially from Israeli Arabs, who accused Katz of trying to erase their heritage.
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