Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz on Tuesday approved the creation of the train station located near the Western Wall entrance, and announced that he decided to name it in honor of Trump to thank him for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Hebrew-language daily Yediot Acharonot first reported Wednesday.
“The Kotel is the holiest place to the Jewish people, and I have decided to name the train station leading to it after U.S. President Donald Trump, in recognition of his brave and historic decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,” Katz said Tuesday, according to the newspaper.
The two underground stations were reportedly approved by the transportation minister following recommendations made by Israel Railways’ steering committee. The stations, one near the Western Wall entrance and another in the City Center at Jaffa and King George streets, are to be a continuation of the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem high speed train line, currently scheduled to end at the Jerusalem International Convention Center, that will be completed in several years’ time at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.
It is not known what kind of archeological items could be found while digging the tunnel for the Western Wall line nor what kind of opposition it will face from the international community, which could slow down work on the line.
According to Yediot, Katz called the project to extend the train line in Jerusalem “the most important national project in the Transportation Ministry.” He reportedly told his ministry to give it a high priority for planning and budgeting.
Also on Tuesday, Israel’s Kan public broadcaster reported that U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman has asked the State Department to stop calling the Israel’s control over the West Bank an “occupation” in official documents.
He reportedly recommended the use of the term “West Bank territory” instead of the “occupied territories.”
The State Department rejected the request, according to Kan, but agreed to take up the subject again in the future.
Friedman in September in an interview with an Israeli news website said that “I think the settlements are part of Israel,” a statement which the State Department later distanced itself from.
Prior to taking up his ambassadorial position, Friedman served as president of American Friends of Bet El Institutions, which raises money for a large West Bank settlement.