Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu announced a mammoth 100 billion shekel ($27 billion) plan to link the country’s north and south by rail. Once completed, such a rail line would also allow goods to be transported from Israel to Saudi Arabia.
The proposed high-speed rail line will run about 400 kilometers (250 mi) from the northern city of Kiryat Shmona to the southern city of Eilat. “My vision is that every Israeli citizen can travel to or from the center from anywhere in the country in less than two hours,” Netanyahu said. “Less than an hour in most cases and even less.
The prime minister strongly linked the domestic project with regional peace, specifically the future normalization agreement with Saudi Arabia, which is currently being discussed in Washington.
PM Benjamin Netanyahu said “This [railway] will also be able to connect Israel by train with Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Peninsula, we are also working on that”.
He made the remarks just two days after US President Joe Biden said a normalization deal could be on the way following talks by national security adviser Jake Sullivan in Saudi Arabia last week. The cross-country course is expected to include a bullet train section through the Negev desert.
Ben-Gurion said, go down to the Negev,” Netanyahu said. “We are bringing infrastructure to the Negev. Without the infrastructure [in place], it is a giant but empty vision,” he added.