Skip to content
CityLab
Housing

Can a Light Rail Train Link a Divided City?

Part cultural tour, part social activism, a project called Dissolving Boundaries uses Jerusalem's public transportation as a stage for examining relations between Israeli and Palestinian residents.
A woman rides a light rail train in Jerusalem.
A woman rides a light rail train in Jerusalem.Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

JERUSALEM­—If there’s a neutral zone for the residents of Jerusalem, it’s on rails. In a city where real estate is highly contested, where walls divide neighborhoods based on faith, and the clothes you wear are code for where you should be seen, the city’s modern light rail system––whether by virtue of peace or necessity––glides above the divide.

That’s why a team of Palestinians and Israelis from Mekudeshet, an arts and cultural initiative, are using the city’s public transit as a platform for documentary and observation. Every summer, the group stages a program of original light-rail-based tours called Dissolving Boundaries—“docu-theatrical journeys” designed to distance you a little from your personal paradigms.