US President Donald Trump prays at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem on May 22, 2017. (Mendy Hechtman/FLASH90)
Transport Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) announced on Tuesday that the train station for the underground rail system nearing completion will have an auspiciously named final stop at the Western Wall: the Donald J. Trump Station.
“The Kotel is the holiest place for the Jewish people,” Minister Katz said to Hebrew news service Yedioth Ahronoth, “and I decided to name the Kotel station after US President Donald Trump, in appreciation of his courageous and historic decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.”
The honor is doubly fitting since Trump became the first sitting US president to visit the Western Wall during his visit to Israel last May.
The announcement came as part of finalizing the plans for the rail system that will include a 1.8-mile tunnel from the Umma (nation) station adjacent to the Central Bus Station and Convention Center at the entrance to Jerusalem, leading directly to the Cardo in the Old City, 200 yards from the Western Wall. When completed, the system will allow visitors to travel by high-speed train directly from Ben Gurion Airport to the heart of Old Jerusalem in 28 minutes. The current rail line was built by the Ottoman Empire and the same trip takes 78 minutes.
The route of the underground tunnel will most probably run directly underneath Koresh Street a few hundred yards before arriving at Donald Trump Station. Koresh Street was named after Persian King Cyrus who helped the Jews rebuild the Temple. Trump has been compared to Cyrus for his role in strengthening the Jewish claim to Jerusalem in international politics.
The high-speed Tel Aviv-Jerusalem railway has been under construction since 2001, cost an estimated $720 million, and has run into serious delays.