Israel plans to build a rail link from the  Mediterranean sea coast to Eilat, which will  open up a new trade route between Asia and  Europe (Moti Bassok and Daniel Schmil, ‘Israeli  cabinet approves construction of high-speed  train line between Tel Aviv and Eilat’, Haaretz. com1 Latest update 18:39 05.02.12). Construction  of the so-called Red-Med project linking the  Mediterranean with the Red Sea through Eilat will  take about five years and include the upgrading of  existing railway tracks.

The plan is for an electrified railway line capable  of supporting speeds up to 300 kilometres per hour,  which would mean that the trip between Tel Aviv  and Eilat would take less than two and a half hours.  The 350 kilometre route will include sixty-three  bridges and five tunnels, and carry both passengers  and freight.

Rising economic powerhouses China and India  have expressed interest in the project and Israel  stands to benefit by developing strategic relations  and common interests with those countries. Israel’s  political stability and advanced economy means that  the Red-Med trade route would offer reliability in a  volatile region. Goods from Asia could be shipped  to Europe without having to go through the Suez  Canal, as cargo unloaded in Eilat would then be sent  by rail to Israeli ports and on to Europe.

The rail link would also provide many benefits to  Israel by developing and extending the existing rail  network managed by Israel Railways. Most of the  current network is located on the densely-populated  Mediterranean coastal plain with inland routes to  Jerusalem and Beersheba. Since the 1990s, Israel  has steadily expanded her rail system and provided  better services in Tel Aviv. This has resulted in  significant growth in passenger traffic in the past  decade, with about 36 million people travelling by  rail in 2010.

Construction of the Red-Med railway will  revive the ancient trade route to India, the eastern  Tarshish, that existed in the time of Solomon and  under later kings (1 Kings 9:26; 10:22; 2 Chronicles  20:36; and see also John Thomas, Elpis Israel, 14th  ed. rev. The Christadelphian, 1958, p. 434). Israel may  therefore become a vital conduit for trade between  east and west as in ancient times. This will bring  her further prosperity and affluence, and may be a  factor in the support of the ‘merchants of Tarshish’  for Israel at Armageddon, as prophesied by Ezekiel  (38:12–13).

References:

‘Israel approv[e]s key rail link of ‘interest’ to India’, Times of  India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Israel-approvskey-  rail-link-of-interest-to-India/articleshow/11775511.cms  ‘Rail transport in Israel’, in Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/  wiki/Rail_transport_in_Israel