City Notes: Ramle on track to get new, modern train station

A catch-up from around the country.

train tracks (photo credit: AMIT BAR-YOSEF)
train tracks
(photo credit: AMIT BAR-YOSEF)
Israel Railways representatives recently presented Ramle Mayor Yoel Lavi with plans to build a train station in the city. The plan for the station followed the mayor’s request for its approval from the building and planning authorities and Israel Railways.
Lavi said the station, set to be built south of Route 431 and east of Route 40, will make an important contribution to the city’s accessibility to metropolitan Tel Aviv and will improve the city’s general image.
“The achievements of our education system and the variety of services that we offer our residents are making Ramle an attractive and sought-after city. The location of the city, near centers of commerce and the major highways 40, 44, 6, 1 and 431, are causing increased demand for housing here,” he said following the announcement of the plan.
The plan is for the station to be comprised of two compounds – one for the railway station itself and the other for commercial space, offices and underground parking.
Meretz councilwoman in Ra’anana faces backlash after boycott call
A Meretz city councilwoman was recently rebuked, by members of her own party, for calling on residents to boycott a restaurant in the city that closed on Shabbat.
The councilwoman, Idit Diamant, wrote the post on the party’s Facebook page.
“The River restaurant in Ra’anana, starting this weekend, will be kosher and so will be closed on Friday and Saturday,” she wrote. “As a veteran customer of the restaurant and because so few restaurants in Ra’anana are open on Friday evening and even fewer do delivery, I am personally harmed by the restaurant’s decision [to close on Shabbat].
“I call on everyone for whom this issue is important to act as I do and in the middle of the week to frequent restaurants that are open on Shabbat. It is important that the free community in Ra’anana express its opinion and support businesses that are open on Shabbat if we want someone to care about our needs.”
The post was eventually deleted, but not before Diamant garnered criticism from her own constituency.
“Really? Boycotting a restaurant because it’s kosher? As a Meretz voter, activist and member of the Meretz Conference, I am ashamed that this announcement was posted on a page with my party’s name on it,” Nir Koren wrote in response to the post.
“As a member of the Meretz Party I express objection and repulsion over this shocking post. Every time a place decides to become kosher and offers service to the religious public, it is blessed, every business that decides to rest on the Day of Rest according to our tradition is legitimate, and I wish them a good day of rest and Shabbat Shalom,” Nitay Sheinenzon wrote.
In response Daniela Mizrahi, the wife of River’s owner, said: “A good week to everyone and good tidings.
Ms. Idit, thank you so much for saving us a lot of advertising expenses, and thank you, everyone, for your support and understanding, we’ll be happy to have you over – River Restaurant, a river of oriental tastes.”
Eilat residents protest closure of Sde Dov Airport
The city of Eilat is encouraging its residents to sign a letter addressed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu protesting the decision to completely evacuate Tel Aviv’s Sde Dov Airport. The city claims that the move will cut Eilat off from the rest of the country.
In March of last year the Israel Lands Authority approved the building of 16,500 housing units at Sde Dov following the IDF’s evacuation of the site. Sde Dov currently hosts a small civilian air field as well as an IAF base.
The electronic petition that is being made available on the city’s website is accompanied by a letter that says closing Sde Dov will cut Eilat off from centers of health, education and employment in the Center and it will also seriously harm internal tourism to the city.
“Ben-Gurion Airport cannot be a substitute for an airport inside Tel Aviv. The move will only guarantee that the residents of Eilat will not be able, from an economic and a time-constraint standpoint due to traffic jams between Ben-Gurion and Tel Aviv, to access health and education services and employment that the government must provide them by right,” the letter reads. “What is now a cheap trip between Sde Dov and health and commercial centers in Tel Aviv, or a short flight for a lecturer at a university in the Center to Eilat, will turn into an expensive and nearly impossible arduous journey.”
The letter does not propose that the real estate plan for Sde Dov be canceled but rather an alternative be found that will be good for “real-estate sharks as well as for national interests.” It states that a small airstrip at Sde Dov should remain to serve the Tel Aviv-Eilat route, a proposal which was put forward in a report by the State Comptroller’s Office.
Haifa Museum marks Israel Space Week
To mark Israel Space Week, the Madatech, National Museum of Science, Technology and Space in Haifa invited the public to learn about space from up close with a fascinating evening of activities.
The event included meeting the representatives of the SpaceIL project, who are planning the landing of the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon.
Lectures were delivered on topics such as how robots explore Mars, and what daily inventions resulted from space research.
The guest of honor was the US astronaut Shannon Walker, who delivered a lecture.
Glassblowers descend on Safed for global symposium
An international glass art symposium was held in the artists colony in Safed this week at the Sheva Chaya Gallery. Italian glassblower Maestro Gianni Toso was accompanied by an expert in the field from Philadelphia, Jeremy Grant-Levine, who goes by Germ, to teach local artists their methods. The two-day event featured four rotating in-depth glassblowing demonstrations and explanations by the visiting expert artists.