The CityPass company which operates the Jerusalem Light Rail has decided to cut its losses to the local Arab intifada and shorten the line’s route through the city – even though it’s a holiday week.
Specifically, about half of the trains will no longer pass through the city’s northern Arab neighborhoods.
The decision came following daily Arab terror attacks targeting the train in Shuafat and often in nearby Beit Hanina as well.
Approximately half a million shekels’ worth of damage has been wreaked upon the passenger cars alone over the past two months by Arabs hurling rocks, firebombs (Molotov cocktails) and fireworks at the Light Rail. Each attack results in numerous delays for passengers waiting at the next stop, and traumatic experiences for those who are unlucky enough to have been in the cars that are attacked.
A passenger named Rina who travels on the Light Rail told the Hebrew-language 0404 website, “The Light Rail in the direction of Pisgat Ze’ev already terminates at Ammunition Hill and no longer enters the danger zone. The driver announces that the last stop is at Ammunition Hill, and tells everyone to disembark,” she said.
A CityPass spokesperson confirmed the decision to 0404, saying it made sense in light of the reduced commuter ridership during the intermediate days of the Sukkot holiday.
The Ministry of Transportation together with the Jerusalem municipality had agreed with the company.
The current schedule was adjusted to concentrate 50 percent of the coverage on the route between Mount Herzl and Givat HaMivtar, an area which sees the highest traffic. Each passenger car will display its final destination.
Last weekend Arabs attacked the train five times in one night.
The attackers hurled rocks at the windows of the passenger cars with clear intent not only to damage the train but also to harm those within.
In four out of five of the attacks the perpetrators managed to escape security forces, although windows were smashed each time and passengers were traumatized. In one attack, security forces managed to catch and arrest the attackers.
While Shuafat Arabs attack fellow Jerusalemites on the Light Rail, others are busy targeting their neighbors in the city’s Ma’ale Zeitim neighborhood.
Jews who live in homes overlooking the Mount of Olives are under siege as some of their Arab neighbors launch fireworks at their homes in an apparent attempt to burn them down.
In a previous attack, Arabs in Maale Zeitim previously threw fireworks into a nursery school while children were playing in the schoolyard.