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Two environmental groups yesterday petitioned the Jerusalem District Court to issue an injunction against widening a section of the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway between Shoresh and Sha'ar Hagai. The Israel Union for Environmental Defense (Adam Teva V'din) and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel claim that a plan for the works has not been authorized as required by law.

The IUED and the SPNI claim that the section in question passes through a national park and that the decision to commence works was taken without any examination of the environmental effects of the expansion of the road. They further claimed that the fact that the planned works are within the declared boundaries of the road does not exempt the Public Works Department (Ma'atz) from carrying out an environmental survey.

The plaintiffs asked the court to order Ma'atz to refrain from carrying out any works on the road. They claimed that Ma'atz intends to start the works shortly and that it was circumventing the due planning process by not having completed the planning procedures as required by the national roads master plan.

The plaintiffs further asked the court to order the Israel Nature and National Parks Authority not to authorize works on the section of the road that passes through a national park under its authority, until the authorization of the plan and the environmental survey.

Ma'atz rejected the claims and said that the works have been authorized and that the necessary environmental considerations have been taken into account.