Israel moving road from Egyptian border as security measure

A border policeman looks from the road to Eilat across the Egyptian border. (Flash 90)

JERUSALEM (JWN and agencies)—The Ramat Hanegev Regional Council announced that it intends to move a road that runs parallel to the Egyptian border some 750 meters eastward for security reasons.

Route 10 has been the scene of a number of terrorist attacks from across the border. In the latest series of attacks last August, eight Israelis were killed. The road is often closed due to terrorism alerts, which disrupt traffic to Eilat.

The council plans to divert a 30-kilometer stretch of the road. However, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel filed an objection with the National Planning and Building Council against the plan.

It cited the expert opinion of Dr. Yaron Ziv of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, who said the road diversion would endanger the region’s ecologically important dunes and many rare animal species. He suggested enhancing the protection along the existing road.

The council responded that the Defense Ministry had stated that increasing protection along the existing road would require building a huge wall, which would in itself damage the environment and the scenery.

The council said it had consulted experts on ways to minimize environmental damage, including creating passageways for animals.

The representative from the Union for Environmental Defense, Eli Ben-Ari, said the area should be kept in its natural state for the benefit of the entire country.