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Photo by: Courtesy Alon Hoter/Meretz
Meretz to run J'lem and TA 'Shabbat bus' in protest
By MELANIE LIDMAN
01/03/2013
Bus to take people to entertainment spots in cities in protest of "religious coercion" stopping weekend public transportation.
 
In a demonstration against the lack of public transportation on Shabbat, Meretz will run three free “Shabbat buses” in the Jerusalem and Tel Aviv regions on Friday night that will bring people to major entertainment spots in the cities.

The buses will travel under the banner “Good for the environment, good for society, and good for you,” and the Meretz slogan “Your voice is definitely against Bibi [Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu].”

“Israel is in a transportation collapse,” MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) said in a statement released by the party ahead of the event. “The only solution is good and efficient public transportation, but that can’t be a system that stops every weekend because of religious coercion.

“Meretz is leading the fight for public transportation all week long – this is the right thing to do in terms of the society, the economy, and the environment,” said Horowitz. “No one is forcing the haredim to travel on Saturdays, so why are the haredim keeping me from freedom of movement?” Horowitz added that the Transportation Ministry’s decision not to run Egged buses on Shabbat is based on a “status quo” agreement that is decades outdated.

Haredi city council members and MKs are vehemently opposed to public transportation on Shabbat. The Transportation Ministry has acquiesced to this demand and only non-public companies, such as Dan and Veolia, run on Shabbat.

There are some exceptions for intercity Egged buses in the country’s North.

Three separate buses will run on Friday night in Jerusalem, the Sharon region, and Tel Aviv. On previous occasions, Meretz has brought its Shabbat bus to other major cities across the country including Kfar Saba, Holon, Herzliya and Hod Hasharon to rally for more public transportation options on Shabbat.
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