'Hazardous nuisance.' Mughrabi Bridge
Photo: EPA
Irked by PM's decision. Barkat
Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg

Barkat slams PM over renovation of Mughrabi Bridge

Jerusalem municipality fuming over prime minister's decision to repair walkway instead of building new one. 'Government's helplessness in dealing with this hazardous, dilapidated nuisance is regrettable,' read statement issued by mayor

The Jerusalem Municipality on Tuesday published a statement criticizing the government, this after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided that the Mughrabi Bridge will be renovated rather than demolished.


"The government's helplessness in dealing with this hazardous and dilapidated nuisance at the heart of the Western Wall and entrance to Temple Mount is regrettable," the statement read.


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The Mughrabi Bridge, which connects the Western Wall promenade to the Temple Mount, was closed at the beginning of the week following an order from the Jerusalem Municipality engineer, who determined that the walkway is unsafe for passage.


The bridge is expected to reopen in the next couple of days, after it will be coated with non-flammable material. In addition, a firetruck will be available on site in order to provide immediate response in case of an emergency.


גשר המוגרבים. יצופה בחומר למניעת דליקות (צילום: EPA)

Mughrabi bridge. To reopen in a few days (Photo: EPA)


Netanyahu, who feared sparking a confrontation with Jordan or eruption of violent clashes over the closure of the walkway, opted for a solution that will restore access to the bridge as quickly as possible.


Officials at the Jerusalem Municipality, who were in favor of demolishing the bridge and building a new one in its place, were not happy with Netanyahu's decision. Mayor Nir Barkat expressed concern that "Netanyahu's conduct will delay the completion of a new bridge and will prevent the restoration of the status quo, which was violated by its closure.


"A correct process of decision making would have produced the right solution of placing a permanent and safe walkway in place of the old one," the statement read.


Tourists interested in visiting the Temple Mount were upset by the decision to close the bridge.


"The bridge should be open to everyone, not just Muslims," Wayne, a German tourist who is visiting Israel for the fourth time, told Ynet.


"This is an unfortunate decision. It's a lovely place to visit but unfortunately we can't go there. There's much to see in Israel, but Temple Mount is one of our favorite places."


Another tourist, a South African who is visiting Jerusalem for the first time, told Ynet he was disappointed by the decision: "It was supposed to be one of the highlights of our trip. It's a shame we can't go there."


Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report






פרסום ראשון: 12.14.11, 00:12
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