A Peek into Jerusalem’s Future

New Jerusalem train station

The escalator that descends to the new underground Jerusalem train station.

I have written before about Batim MiBifnim – Jerusalem Open Houses, both my general appreciation of the free event and about a tour I guided in a previous year. For those who are unfamiliar, this is an annual event that lasts three days. There are walking tours, entry into architecturally interesting private homes and public visits to normally closed, private institutional buildings — all for free! And even though most tours are in Hebrew, there is still plenty to see even for English speakers. In short, it is a peek into a secret side of the city, a real treat for those who love Israel’s capital.

Of course, there is no greater secret than the future. So at this year’s event (a few weeks ago), I focused much of my time on tours that would allow me a window into where the city’s development is heading.

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Take Me to a Better Place

Electric Cars by Renault being recharged at Better Place's Visitors Center

Many industrial facilities offer interested fans of their products tours of their production facilities. Probably the most common are wineries and breweries, and we have no shortage of either here in Israel.

But many places also have tours of facilities when the product is unique to that area. Whereas there may not be a ton of tours of ice cream production factories, many visitors to Vermont will pay a visit to the Ben & Jerry’s factory. Atlanta has the World of Coca-Cola. And does anyone go to Hershey, PA without paying a visit to Hershey Park? (Okay, some of these are more than just factory tours, but that’s how they all began!)

Well, Israel now has a new tour to add to this general variety, but it is also unique in many ways. It is not a food or beverage facility, and is a great advertisement for the high-tech, start-up style endeavor for which Israel has become so well known.

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