Please Don’t Name the Kotel Train Station After Trump
According to a report by the Hebrew daily Yediot Ahronot on Wednesday, Israel Railways, Israel’s national train operator, is planning on naming the last stop in Jerusalem for its new train line after President Donald Trump, in honor of his historic December 6th recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.
The station will be the final stop on the Tel Aviv to Jerusalem train line, which is slated to open next spring. The new train line, which will operate alongside the city’s light rail system, will include a three-kilometer tunnel (1.9 miles), linking the Binyanei Haumah convention center near the Central Bus Station to the entrance of the Old City of Jerusalem.
Last year, however, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud), proposed an extension of the high-speed train line, adding another stop near the Western Wall on the southeast side of the Old City.
A steering committee for Israel Railways has approved the proposal, and is reportedly planning on naming the new station the “Donald John Trump Train Station”.
The new station will be built 52 meters (171 feet) below ground, like a similar station planned for central Jerusalem, near the intersection of Jaffa and King George streets.
This is an extraordinarily bad idea.
I can understand showing appreciation to Trump for his mostly symbolic gesture on Jerusalem. But that’s all it has been so far: symbolic.
The embassy is not being moved any time soon. People born even within Green Line Jerusalem are still not considered to have been born in Israel by the US State Department. Nothing has changed on the ground.
But this is a bad idea for other reasons.
The Kotel, and the Temple Mount that gives it its sanctity, is holy. Whether you are pro-Trump or anti-Trump, the man has not lived a moral life. I don’t need to go into details — they are on videotape. Trump is not a role model for anything except ruthless, naked self-promotion.
Associating him with the holiest place on Earth is a perversion. It cheapens and devalues the Kotel. It is viscerally appalling.
Much less important, but still worth mentioning, is that a move like this would alienate Israel even more — and for no good reason.
I have no problem with Israel doing the right thing when liberal American Jews and Western European countries disagree, but this isn’t the right thing. It would not strengthen Israel’s claim to all of Jerusalem to the world; instead, it would weaken it.
It would make Israel look like it is trying to suck up to an American leader, rather than act as a proud, sovereign nation. It would turn what should be a symbol of Jewish unity into a reason for division.
It is a bad idea politically, it is an awful idea religiously — and it is a huge mistake strategically.