Questionnaire: Working on the railroad

Yehuda Shoshani, CEO of CityPass, is the builder and operator of the Jerusalem Light Rail.

Yehuda Shoshani 521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Yehuda Shoshani 521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
■ What gets you out of bed in the morning?
A phone call from my daughter, who is serving as a platoon commander in a combat unit at Tze’elim.
■ What keeps you up at night?
The intensive preparations for the commercial operation of the light rail during this year.
■ What’s the most difficult professional moment you’ve faced so far?
Trying to maneuver between the existing gaps and subjects that have not yet been agreed between various sectors in the state, the municipality and the concessionaire to abide by the cramped timetable until full commercial operation, when the challenge to operate a light railway that is of good quality, reliability and of a high standard for the Jerusalem public.
■ How do you celebrate your achievements?
I’ll feel free to celebrate only once we have launched the railway to high standards of security and operating as happens in advanced European countries, and after the residents of Jerusalem have realized that good news has come – a light railway that will become the cornerstone of public transport in the city.
■ If you were prime minister, what’s the first thing you would do?
I would work to reduce social gaps, to prevent poverty and to improve the educational level of the younger generation to enable them to build a state with social and economic strength, as well as values and ethics at a higher level.
■ Which Israeli should have a movie made about him?
The Israeli farmer. Because Israel is turning into an industrialized and hitech country and there are fewer people working the soil, growing crops and produce, and to prevent the need for importing agricultural produce from other countries.
■ What would you change about Israelis if you could?
I would be interested to see a more patient, tolerant Israeli, who listens more and talks less. An Israeli who knows how to apologize when necessary, to say a good word when necessary, and to compromise in order to reach important and worthwhile goals.
■ iPad, BlackBerry or pen and paper?
Personally I’m a fan of BlackBerry, but with all my love for technology, I’m ultimately a pen and paper man.
■ If you had to write an advertisement to entice tourists to come to Israel, what would it say?
Israelis are a warm-hearted people who know how to be hosts, a welcoming and peace-loving people. This is a small state with varied scenery, a state in which you can ski in the North while at the same time it’s possible to sunbathe and dive in the coral islands in the South. A state whose technological achievements enable it to be accessible, a state whose culinary field is something very special.
A state that is relatively inexpensive compared to European countries, a state that’s relatively safe compared to those surrounding it. A state that contains one Jerusalem, a city holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims.
■ What is the most serious problem facing the country?
The recent deepening polarization between sectors of the population – between haredim and secular, between Israeli Arabs and the rest of the population, between political parties with opposing platforms. Violence, particularly among young people, which we have not previously known.
■ How can it be solved?
Education toward tolerance and patience, and better answers to economic problems among minorities and weaker segments of the population.
■ In 20 years, the country will be:
I have no answer. I’m not a prophet, but I would like to see a state that has signed a peace treaty with all its neighbors, a state whose schoolchildren’s educational achievements are among the highest in the world. A state whose technological achievements, including agricultural- technological, is among the most developed in the world, and a state whose polarization between the different populations has been reduced.