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Israel invites Japan to spearhead rail project to Saudi Arabia

Minister offers a 25-year lease of the port where the route would start

Every year, thousands of trucks are ferried from Turkey to Haifa, then drive to the Arab world. The new rail route would make transport cheaper and faster.   © Reuters

JERUSALEM -- Israel's transportation minister on Tuesday embarked on a three-day visit to Japan armed with far-reaching proposals that could radically transform the geopolitical landscape.

Israel Katz, who doubles as minister of intelligence, will invite Japanese participation in multibillion-dollar projects to dramatically improve infrastructure in the Middle East. His country's goal, he told the Nikkei Asian Review in an exclusive interview, is to establish itself "as the ultimate gateway between Europe, the Mediterranean and the Gulf countries, to transport goods from east to west and bridge three continents." 

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