Transportation minister announces plans to build 15-million-shekel train route that will connect the Israeli port in Haifa with Jordan. The planned connection is to be expanded later to Saudi Arabia for a total of 2 billion shekel.
Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz announced in mid-January that in the state budget for 2019 has been allocated the construction of a railway line between Beit She’an and the Jordanian border crossing Sheikh Hussein.
The line, which will extend the existing route between Haifa and Bet She’an, is intended to transport cargo and thereby reduce road congestion. Also, Katz called it a “bridge of peace”: In the future, the route will not only connect Jordan to Israeli ports, but also other Arab states like Saudi Arabia.
For the Gulf States, exports via Israel would make sense in economic terms: “The line … will serve as an alternative to the sea route,” which is much longer. Being a transportation hub in the Middle East would also strengthen Israel’s economy immensely.
The idea was initiated during recent meetings between Transportation minister Katz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US chief Middle East negotiator Jason Greenblatt. However, the US would not be funding any part of the project.