Government votes to extend Israel National Trail into Jerusalem, West Bank

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel’s cabinet voted to extend the Israel National Trail to Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The $2.8 million US project approved on Sunday will construct a second trail to include historic sites in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

“The path will expose tourists to Israel’s landscapes and sites and will bring hikers to all parts of the country, including the periphery, thereby making significant economic contributions to these areas,” Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said in a statement, which did not pinpoint exactly how the trail will run.

An inter-ministerial team was appointed Sunday to develop a strategic plan for the trail, which will include developing ways to bring international tourists to the site.

The government is poised to start marketing the entire trail as an international tourist site. The marked trail, that runs for 680 miles throughout the country, is 22 years old.

“The Israel Trial has tourist and historical implications. This is what is needed in terms of the tourism potential,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.

He added: “On a personal note: I have walked thousands of kilometres. There is nothing that connects one more to love of the homeland than walking through the verses of the Bible, the history of the Second Temple period and the establishment of the State of Israel. We have beautiful countryside and a rich history. I will try to walk through parts of it. This is an outstanding enterprise.”

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