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Monday July 12, 2010 9:34 AM (EST+7)

RAMALLAH, July 12 (JMCC) - Israel's Arab towns will get bus service for the first time since Israel was established, announced Israeli officials Sunday.

The new service will go into effect over the next two months, the transportation ministry announced.

The new lines are part of Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz’s plan to introduce public transportation into all Arab, Druse and Beduin cities and villages in the country.

“The operation of public transportation in the non- Jewish sector will lead to increases in residents’ employment and particularly in women’s participation, leading to an increase in quality of life,” said Katz.

The first phase will include the introduction of bus lines to the Galilee, with routes to and from Peki’in and Beit Jann, in Wadi Ara for the benefit of Umm el-Fahm residents, and a route for the residents of Fureidis, near Zichron Ya’acov.

In the Negev, the Beduin cities of Lakia, Tel Sheva, Chura and Kuseifa will all connect to Beersheba.

In the upcoming months, the Druse villages of Daliat al- Carmel and Usfiya will also receive new bus routes.

Attorney Sawsan Zaher from Adalah – the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel responded, saying, “There exists a big gap in infrastructure between Jewish and Arab cities. Lack of public transportation in the Arab sector harms the mobility of the Arab population, is an obstacle to employment and causes a larger amount of traffic accidents. Therefore we congratulate any actual steps taken to bridge the gap.”

Read the story at the Jerusalem Post...






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