Canada has been around for close to 150 years. Israel has been around for less than half that time. Canada has 36.1 million people; Israel, 8.5 million. Canada’s gross domestic product is C$1.6 trillion; Israel’s, $281.9 billion. Canada faces no continuing threat to its existence; while Israel hasn’t known a single day of peace since it came into being.
So, why is Israel putting the finishing touches to a high-speed rail line between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, while Canada has yet to make a formal announcement that it will build one? True, Via Rail, Canada’s answer to Amtrak, has spend a lot of money over the past few years to allow for faster passenger trains between Montreal and Toronto. But these improvements are to an existing line — a line that must also handle commuter trains and long freights. Meanwhile, Israelis are looking forward to 2018 when they’ll be able to zip between their two biggest cities in less than 30 minutes at 160 kilometres an hour.
(One of the new bridges on Israel’s new high-speed railway line, a line that will whisk passengers between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in less than 30 minutes)