A golden opportunity for Judea and Samaria
(Source israelhayom.com) The public debate over the future of Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley has, thus far, mainly focused on considerations of security and demographics. But there is another issue, no less crucial for Israel’s future: congested living space and expanding infrastructure. Already today, Israel is among the most congested countries in the world. The “security experts” who support withdrawal and oppose annexation deny and repress this issue. Israeli cities along the coastal highways that depend on the country’s main infrastructure systems weren’t planned to accommodate this increasing congestion. Some 60% of the Jewish population in Israel resides between Netanya and Rishon Lezion. Three main highways run along the coast connecting the north and south – namely highways 2, 4, and 6 – and they are jammed throughout most of the day. Highway 6, which was supposed to solve this traffic crisis, is also over-congested. The only other alternative is located in the open space in the east, based on the Allon Road, running roughly south-north between Highway 1 near Kfar Adumim east of Jerusalem and Highway 90 at Mehola in the central Jordan Valley. This is a vital artery, which needs to be expanded to connect Arad in the south and the Gilboa in the north. In Israel’s transportation plans this route is known as Highway 80, which hasn’t been paved due to diplomatic circumstances. The road, on the level of Highway 6, is necessary for the purpose of diverting heavy north-south traffic from the coastal region. Additionally, such a highway would cater to all residents east of the Samarian hills, Palestinians and Jews alike. Such a project also has the potential to impact future regional transportation from Syria and Jordan to Egypt.