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July 28, 2016 / 22 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Ministry of Transport’

Knesset Committee Convenes to Prepare for Lag B’Omer Mt. Meron Fire Festival

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

The Knesset Public Petitions Committee headed by MK Rabbi Yisrael Eichler (UTJ) convened Wednesday to evaluate preparations for the big pilgrimage to Mt. Meron next week. At a March committee meeting on the same topic, concerns were raised about the lack of cooperation among the organizers, and the lack of funds, lights, roads, parking places, and benches, to name but a few problems. Last night the committee convened again to receive answers and summarize the preparations for Lag B’Omer in Meron. The CEO of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the CEO of the National Center for the development of holy places, police officials, representatives of the Ministry of Transport and Hatzalah volunteers attended.

Committee chairman Eichler opened the meeting, saying, “This year the hearings were extremely optimistic. Unlike previous years, when everyone complained and threw the responsibility on the shoulders of others, this year we received written responses and constant updates of the performance in the field. Concerns were raised at the previous hearing. This time there is a feeling of freshness and acceptance of responsibility and cooperation that the preparations have been better organized, and I hope not to be proven wrong.”

Oded Plus, CEO of the Ministry of Religious Affairs said, “In past years the holy places center could not start work because they had debts of millions of shekels. We made sure to cover all the debts from previous years. A team led by myself and involving all the relevant factors formulated a budget of 25 million shekel ($6.46 million). I’ve been told that at this stage of the game preparations have never been up to where they are today.”

“We put up light poles on Route 89 and Route 866 and many more roads that were not properly lighted. We expanded the parking lots significantly,” Plus continued. “We added benches, drinking facilities and rescue centers in all the parking lots. All the tasks were carried out and we were on schedule. I’m optimistic. But we have to be careful. Certainly there may be problems. We have tried to anticipate them and prevent them. We have learned a lot of lessons from the previous years.”

Rabbi Yosef Schwinger, CEO of the National Center for the development of the holy places said, “This is the first year that we had a set budget two months before the event. In the past, we emphasized the people as a whole, this year we put an emphasis on the individual and the family. There will be dozens of drinking stations manned by multilingual stewards, dozens of shaded areas, hundreds of toilets connected to a sewer, and water infrastructure. We have established a special area for women to drink and rest. There are 12 diaper changing and nursing rooms with attendants on hand to help. We went down to the details in terms of individual treatment.”

Senior director of public transportation at the Transportation Ministry Dror Ganon reported that starting next Wednesday afternoon, May 18, busses would start to run from 14 destinations across the country, including two new subsidized destinations in Beitar Illit and Modiin Illit. He added, “Last year we finished the event with 7,000 trips and upwards of 300 thousand passengers. This year we expect an increase of 15 percent. We almost reached the maximum capacity of buses in Israel! 80% of the people use public transportation to get to Meron. We take almost 1,500 buses from private companies. There will also be a lot of stations leaving  the major cities, in Jerusalem itself there will be 7 stations. There are nearly 250 officials routing transport for the event.”

Officer Yossi Chemo, commander of police operations in the north, said, “We plan on deploying 5,000 police officers throughout the week in Meron. There will be 12 ambulances of Ezer M’Zion and another four of Lev Malka. There will also be volunteers of United Hatzalah and MDA. We ask the public to help them in their work and to obey their instructions.”

David Israel

Israeli Airlines Grounded on Day 1 of Anti ‘Open Skies’ Policy

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

The Israeli government is expected to approve today, Sunday, the Open Skies agreement enabling free competition for foreign airlines flying into Israel from Europe. Workers for the Israeli airlines are adamantly opposed to the agreement, which they say would wreck their industry, and so they went on strike at 5:00 AM, effectively disabling all the flights scheduled to depart from Israel.

The three local airlines, El-Al, IsrAir and Arkia, had been planning for the strike, and so they switched many flights to 4:50 AM, so that passengers could leave the country as planned.

Negotiations between the country’s major trades union, the Histadrut, and the Ministry of Transport over the free competition agreement was halted on Friday, and so far there have been no contacts between the two sides to renew talks.

The planned Open Skies will allow, over the next five years, a gradual process for many European airlines to run flights from Israel to the mainland and back. The main goal of the reform instituted by the Ministry of Transport is to encourage competition between companies, thereby reducing the prices for the Israeli consumer.

In addition, Israelis will now be able fly directly to destinations that currently are not reached from Israel.

Israeli airline employees have stressed in press interviews that they are not against the agreement, despite the strike. Avi Edri, Chairman of the Histadrut Transport Workers Union, clarified that he was “in favor of ‘open skies,’ and for benefiting the consumers, but not this way.” As he puts it, “the agreement as it is, without the needed adjustments to protect the Israeli companies, is a death sentence for these companies. You can’t enter the competition when the two sides are not equal, and the Ministry of Transport, unfortunately, favors the foreign companies.”

Among other things, the striking employees demand an added clause in the agreement, allowing Israeli companies to run lines to the same destinations as foreign companies would be given as part of the agreement..

Hours before the government discussion of the proposed treaty, Channel 10 News exposed an internal document of the Ministry of Transport warning against the collapse of El-Al as a result of implementing the Open Skies deal. Among other things, the report warns of El-Al going bankrupt and defaulting on its debts, in which case the Israeli government would have to funnel in funds to keep it alive, nationalize it temporarily, or turn it into a state enterprise.

Yori Yanover

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-airlines-grounded-on-day-1-of-anti-open-skies-policy/2013/04/21/

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