הרכבל בחרמון
The cable car at Mount Hermon
Photo: Shutterstock
The site of the cable car disaster in Italy that claimed 14 lives on Sunday

How safe are Israel's cable cars?

In wake of the disaster that claimed 14 lives in Italy on Sunday, Yedioth Ahronoth examines the inspection procedures, safety standards and maintenance of similar aerial lifts that are dotted throughout Israel, primarily at tourist sites

Ilana Curiel, Iris Lifshitz Klieger , Lior El-Hai |
Published: 05.25.21 , 15:47
Israel has multiple sites, mostly tourist attractions, that offer transportation via cable car.
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  • In the wake of Sunday's terrible tragedy in Mottarone in northern Italy, which claimed 14 lives, Ynet’s sister publication Yedioth Ahronoth takes a look at their maintenance and safety procedures.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    זירת התרסקות הרכבל באיטליה
    זירת התרסקות הרכבל באיטליה
    The site of the cable car disaster in Italy that claimed 14 lives on Sunday
    (Photo: AP)
    According to industry experts, cable car inspections in Israel are carried out every year. The inspections and the physical maintenance of the cable cars are both carried out to standard, regardless of whether the aerial lifts were in use or not.
    The management team at Mount Hermon ski resort, where tens of thousands of visitors use the cable cars every year, says that the Transportation Ministry and the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa are responsible for the integrity and operation of the cars at the site.
    "The Hermon site operates according to the guidelines of the Transportation Ministry,” a representative for the resort told Yedioth Ahronoth.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    הרכבל בחרמון
    הרכבל בחרמון
    The cable car at Mount Hermon
    (Photo: Shutterstock)
    "The site conducts all the safety inspections required. The cable cars were established in 1971 and are tested every year before the winter season begins," the representative said.
    The last test on the cable cars at Mount Hermon was performed in November 2020.
    At the historic site of Masada in southern Israel, the cable car offers passengers an easy way to ascend and descend the steep mountain.
    The Masada management team said that the Israel Nature and Parks Authority is responsible for overseeing the integrity of the aerial lift.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    גן לאומי מצדה
    גן לאומי מצדה
    The cable car at Masada
    (Photo: Shutterstock)
    "The Authority conducts ongoing inspections in accordance with the European cable car standards and according to the manufacturers' guidelines,” the INPA said.
    “Furthermore, the license for the cars is only issued after a test that is carried out every year.”
    The last annual inspection of the cable cars at Masada was conducted in January 2021.
    At Rosh Hanikra close to the Lebanese border, the management team said that the cars themselves have been replaced several times, and that the current cars were installed in 2015.
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    הרכבל בראש הנקרה
    הרכבל בראש הנקרה
    The cable cars at Rosh Hanikra
    (Photo: Gil Nechushtan)
    "The cable car operates in line with the manufacturer's instructions, undergoes an annual inspection and tests and is under the supervision of the Transportation Ministry," said the site's management.
    The cable cars were also maintained in accordance with the guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic when the site was shuttered to visitors.
    The cable car in Haifa, which connects the Bat Galim neighborhood at the bottom of Mount Carmel and Stella Maris at the top, was maintained only periodically when it was shuttered during the pandemic.

    5 צפייה בגלריה
    הרכבל בחיפה
    הרכבל בחיפה
    The cable cars in Haifa
    (Photo: Gil Nechushtan)
    "Once a year, a certified inspector comes from Austria, who conducts a general and comprehensive inspection of the cable cars," says the manager of the site Fajr Biadasi. "Without this inspection, you cannot receive a license to operate the site."
    The Transportation Ministry said: "The ministry conducts annual supervisions of the cable cars in Israel through accredited European and Israeli laboratories, according to the requirements of the world's most advanced EN1709 standards for cable car maintenance.”
    The Technion said: "The Technion's Vehicle and Mechanical Engineering Laboratory is certified and conducts an annual inspection of the Hermon cable car system according to European standards. The certification is renewed once every two years."
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