In Israel, the Prime Minister menachem Begin opened the new motorway linking Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, on Tuesday (11 July).
GV: motorway outside Tel Aviv with crowds watching.
GV: crowd listening to speaker.
GV AND SV: Prime Minister Menachem begin listening to speakers. (2 shots)
GV: soldiers on duty
SV: Mr Begin shaking hands with spectator.
GV: Construction Minister Gideon Patt speaking to crowd in Hebrew. (2 shots)
GV AND SV: Mr Begin walks onto platform and speaks to crowd in Hebrew (2 shots)
SV: girl with ceremonial scissors.
SV: Mr Begin and officials walk up to ribbon and Mrs Begin cuts ribbon.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In Israel, the Prime Minister menachem Begin opened the new motorway linking Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, on Tuesday (11 July). The road is the biggest motorway construction undertaken in Israel and crosses the disputed occupied territory of the West Bank, captured by Israel during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. More than 12 kilometres of the road passes through the West Bank near Latrun but Israeli government officials have said they are confident this area will be ceded to Israel under any future agreement on border modifications.
SYNOPSIS: The new motorway will reduce travel time between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem from 75 to 45 minutes. At the opening ceremony, a large crowd including Prime Minister begin, heard speakers explaining the importance of the new road. The old route was narrow and added 20 kilometres to the vital 60 kilometres journey between the seat of government in Jerusalem and Israel's commercial and industrial centre in Tel Aviv. Eventually the motorway will link up with the partially completed expressway between Tel Aviv and Lod International Airport.
The Construction Minister Gideon Patt commented on the design of the road which took five years to build. Prime Minister begin tressed the significance of the motorway which has cost the government over 22 million dollars.
Because it crosses occupied territory, the World Bank insisted that no part of a 30 million dollar loan granted to Israel was used for its construction. Landscape architects have ensured the road is scenic, with all trees uprooted for the six-lane highway, replanted at the side.
Mr Begin watched as his wife, Aliza, formally opened the motorway. Israel relies almost exclusively on road traffic for its transportation and the new expressway will allow over three times the amount of vehicles to travel between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem than can be carried on the existing road. Foundations have already been laid for two new lanes, making it an eight-lane carriageway capable of carrying 70 thousand vehicles a day.