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Introduction

The Cross of Bethlehem

The Cross of Bethlehem II

German Machine, Russian Workers and Israel's Largest Nuclear Shelter

Israel Revives Burma Road

 

 

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A Feast of Racism

In March 2013, Israel started digging its second-ever railway tunnel, after the first tunnel in the high-speed railway to Jerusalem was finished after several months of non-stop drilling on December 1. This strategic project features several odd characteristics making it entertaining to follow. It also features odd cultural touches, an unexpected thing while dealing with tunnel boring machines (TBMs). In one of its reports on the issue, Globes, an Israeli financial newspaper, reported on a German machine, Russian workers and the Israeli watchers. The newspaper emphasized the Russians leaving the open tunnel by foot, ignoring the Moroccan cigars (a food) that the Israelis were waiting to devour, and heading right to a table with Absolute Vodka bottles. Israel can twist even boring construction events into a wild feast of racism. Cheers!

High-speed Jerusalem Railway, July 2012

High-speed Jerusalem Railway, July 2012
Hardrock Tunnel Boring Machines

Jerusalem Railway Station

Ottoman Empire Jerusalem Railway Station
The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia

German Technology

Whenever possible, Israel attempts to acquire technology instead of developing it; this strategy dates back to the days when Shimon Peres decided that the Weizmann Institute of Science would adapt French nuclear technologies instead of developing them from scratch. Sometimes that means putting money on the table. That is how Soviet technologies were acquired via Kazakhstan. In other cases, this is accomplished by sending post-doctoral students, mainly to the USA. More often than not, this works out well, with the exception of Germany. Israel avoids this academic path mainly due to linguistic considerations. Moreover, robbing Germany apparently is impossible for the Mossad. Instead, Israel uses a unique approach while seeking German technology.

For many years, Germany was the most technologically and scientifically advanced country in the world. Most scientific articles written until well into the twentieth century were written in German. Even now, the German propulsion system used by the Dolphin submarines provided to Israel is considered the most advanced in the world. At the beginning of WWII, America was far behind Germany. Its surface-to-surface missiles were the first of their kind; the V1 and V2 made history. It also developed ground-to-air missiles, which were not used operationally because they were too advanced for that battlefield. It had electronic and radar programs, a nuclear program, and even plans for a space-based weapon to become operational by the end of that century. America's appearance as a technological powerhouse after the war was the result of its use of German scientists to catapult its formerly flimsy capabilities. With a few German submarines and a large shipping company Israel is capable of hitting most of the world with nuclear missiles (for maps and details see Six Million Submarines and Six Million Ships).

First Tunnel Breakthrough

 

Nuclear Horror

Years after setting up its nuclear weapons program, Israel understood that this transformed it into a nuclear target. Setting up nuclear shelters became a priority. Yet, Israel lacks the technology for constructing them; the impressive bunker of its Northern Command in Tzfat was built by a Dutch company. Again, Germany helped. Again, it did so indirectly, this time by solving a railways riddle named "Shaar Hagay." Highway #1 links Jerusalem with Tel Aviv and is unquestionably Israel's jugular vein. Between Latrun and Shaar HaGay ("Gate of the Narrow Valley" in Hebrew, "Bab el-Wad" in Arabic) the valley along which the highway passes is barely wider than the dark asphalt spoiling it. In the 1948 War, this was the site of one of its worst battles (lost by the IDF) and was closely linked to the American designed Burma Road, which allowed the transport of weapons into besieged Jerusalem. Ever since, Israel has been trying to widen its access to Jerusalem, first by creating a "second corridor" through the West Bank, and now by the high-speed Jerusalem Railway, which will pass through various tunnels along the way, including one through the strategic Gate of the Narrow Valley.

A1, the pink line, shows the high-speed Jerusalem Railway, note the tunnels

A1, the pink line, shows the high-speed Jerusalem Railway, note the tunnels

 

By 2017, a fast train would cross the tunnels regularly, linking Tel Aviv and Jerusalem—via Ben Gurion Airport and Modiin—in just 28 minutes. There would be tunnels between Latrun to Shaar Hagay, another one at Nahal Yitleh, and the last one from Nahal Luz near Mevaseret Tzion. From this point, the railway will continue underground all the way to Binyanei HaUma, in Central Jerusalem. Each one of the last two tunnels would be over ten kilometers long, qualifying as the longest in Israel (right now, the longest one connects the Coastal Road with the Check Post, near Haifa, it is over 3km long). Elevators and escalators will help the passengers to ascend the eighty meters separating the railway from the surface. This is similar to Soviet nuclear bunkers disguised as metro stations in Moscow; strengthening the claim is the fact that the boring was done by a Russian company named Metrostroy, which specializes in metro systems. Israel tries to camouflage Jerusalem, preparing the city against a nuclear answer to an Israeli nuclear attack. The railway would be able to deliver troops and weapons to a Jerusalem under siege when the time comes; the tunnel will assure that the new route is more defensible than Highway #1. This is clear; however, Israel lacks TBM technology. One of the problems is that TBM machines are unique; they are fit to ground conditions and tunnel dimensions. Thus, the German provider of this state-of-the-art monster arrived in Israel, and worked with a local engineering company. The latter had already told Globes that the machine would be dismantled after its use, "except if they find a buyer." Avraham Koznitzky, General Manager of Israeli Manrav, promised that they will be able to build new ones. The technology has passed. Israel is becoming a nuclear shelter scared to death of its own weapons.

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