First Station Closure Debate Delayed, Fate Unclear

The District Committee expected to make a decision on the closure of the First Station decided to push off deliberations until May 27th. The delay will allow the city engineer to make a recommendation regarding the debate. The newly scheduled discussion will not allow for the presence of council members. Instead, the municipal professionals will decide on a major point of tension between religious and pluralist populations in the city.

On Wednesday, the Jerusalem municipality voted to close the First Station in light of there being businesses there that operate on Shabbat. The decision was supported by the Haredi parties along with Dov Kalmanovitch. Moshe Lion and Hagit Moshe were not present at the debate while Rami Levy and Aryeh King could not vote due to conflict of interests. Meir Turjeman could not participate due to his legal troubles.

With the delay, the fate of the First Station is unclear. Mayor Barkat has vowed to ensure that the popular Jerusalem attraction remains open, though the final decision does not rest with him. It is likely that an enormous amount of pressure will be placed on the committee to allow the First Station to stay open.

On Wednesday, a number of the pluralist parties organized a joint protest. However, only about 50 people attended perhaps suggesting that the potential closure of the first station would not be enough to bring Jerusalem’s pluralist/Zionist population out to vote.

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