Tuesday, January 23, 2007

JERUSALEM: plans for the future for a modern metropolis.

Focus on Jerusalem

The New Jerusalem?
(Planned since 2005.)

The heavenly Jerusalem is planned by God, but the earthly Jerusalem is planned by man.
Over the next 15 years, Jerusalem will undergo a major facelift, turning it into a super modern city, which combined with its ancient historical places, will attract millions of visitors from around the world. Plans include a skyscraper, a cable car, a blimp to give an aerial view of the city, and an artificial lake.Today this is a vision; tomorrow a reality. “Dreams and deeds are often much less different than we think,” said Israel’s founding father Theodor Herzl. “Every human deed starts with a dream and ends with a dream.” Under the plan, Israel will have its own version of the Eiffel Tower on the Hass Promenade in East Talpiot. The 130-meter (422-foot) tower, which will have a revolving restaurant on the top floor, will afford a magnificent view of Jerusalem and the Judean hills all the way to the Dead Sea. On King George Street, one of the main downtown thoroughfares, a 62-story skyscraper will be erected. Called Migdal haYekum (Universe Tower), it will be one of the tallest buildings in the Middle East. There will be a special covering over the famous Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall, providing protection from rain in the winter and sun in the summer. The mall will be extended from Jaffa Road to Bezalel Street, where the new israel today bureau is located. The Great Synagogue on King George Street will be turned into the Museum of the Jewish People, at a cost of $33 million. The 250-meter (812-foot) Ezekiel Tunnel will begin near Damascus Gate in the Old City and run under the Moslem Quarter. The tunnel will incorporate Solomon’s Quarries, a big cave from Biblical times. It will include a sound-and-light show, restaurants and a theater with 480 seats. A 3,500-square meter (35,000-square foot) lake will extend from the popular Malcha Mall to the Biblical Zoo (see Drawing). It will include the capital’s first water park, with attractions like water-skiing, sailing and ice-skating. A new Imax Cinema will also be built in this area.

To the chagrin of environmentalists and ordinary citizens, the beautiful young forests around southwestern Jerusalem will be destroyed to accommodate 20,000 new housing units, highways, schools and other buildings. The forests were planted 70 years ago by the Jewish National Fund. The most hotly disputed project is in the eastern part of the city, where 3,500 housing units will be built connecting Israel’s biggest settlement of Ma’ale Adumim in the Judean hills to Jerusalem. Since the US and Palestinians oppose this project, Israel will expand in the meantime to the West. It is easier to destroy the precious forests that are among the last unspoiled green areas of the capital, than to convince the world about Israel’s right to build on Biblical Land in Judea and Samaria.

Other projects include new highways and trains to connect the city to its growing suburbs. An ultra-modern bridge will be built at the entrance to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, designed by Spaniard Santiago Calatrava, one of the world’s top architects. The aim is to bring this vision to reality in just 15 years. But timetables are hard to keep in the turbulent Middle East, where wars, terrorism, unrest and politics often cause delays and a change in plans. Even the experts admit that the building of the earthly Jerusalem depends on grace from Heaven above. The City of the Great King, where the modern Jewish state meets ancient Jewish history

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