Strident chords: The construction of the new Chords Bridge leading into Jerusalem caused controversy in the city's municipal meeting Sunday, as several of City Hall's coalition members were enraged by reports suggesting several construction workers were spotted working on Shabbat.
The bridge, which is supposed to carry the city's new light train, has been under construction for the past three years. Jerusalem's coalition members believed the some of the work was done on Shabbat in order to finish it in time for Wednesday's inauguration ceremony.
"Not only is it not worth it, it offended many people's emotions, both religious and secular," Shmuel Yitzhaky, a Shas Jerusalem councilman told Ynet Monday.
"The fact that the Jerusalem municipality sponsored this work is very grave. For what? For a ceremony? There is no reason what so ever to finish it of Shabbat."
Under construction. The bridge (Photo: Sasson Tiram)
Yitzhaky also said he believed the work was sanctioned by Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski. The people in City Hall, he added, "are only concerned with their jobs and don't care about the coalition."
Yehoshua Mor Yosef, spokesman for the Moria Company, which was tasked with the bridge's construction and who issued a statement on behalf of both Moria and the Jerusalem Municipality, said that the company sees the incident as severe.
Moreover, "The company has decided to immediately relieve the project's foreman and the construction's supervisor of their duties in order to make sure this kind of mishap never happens again."
Mor Yosef further denied Lupolianski's involvement in the decision to finish the project on Shabbat: "The mayor had no knowledge about any activities which were carried out in violation of the building contract, which clearly stipulates that, no work should be done on the bridge on Shabbat. The construction workers involved were Arab's hired by a sub-contractor, who sent them to the site against orders."
The inauguration ceremony itself has encountered some objections in the city council: Nir Bareket, who heads the municipality's opposition, slammed the costs – estimated as NIS 2 million (approximately $600,000) as unnecessarily extravagant.
"These public funds should have found their way to more important causes, such as schools and the city's beautification," he said.