Mayor Nir Barkat.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
One fine day Five Jerusalem minimarkets open on Shabbat have been fined NIS 470 each. Following the decision of Mayor Nir Barkat to accept haredi partners in his coalition, municipality inspectors visited the minimarkets – four in the city center and one on the seam road facing the Mamilla Mall – and fined them for being open in violation of the municipal deci- sion proscribing Shabbat commerce. The response of the minimarket owners was to appeal to the court, asking for a new debate on the matter and for suspension of the rule to close down on Shabbat. One of the owners, Gabriel Ben-David, who owns the 24/7 mini- market on Heleni Hamalka Street, even declared that if the current rule permits only non-Jewish owners to open their businesses during Shabbat, he would seriously con- sider conversion to Christianity to save his livelihood. Even without resorting to such extreme solutions, all of the owners of the minimarkets in question have announced their determination to keep their businesses open on Shabbat, as it is the only day on which they can make a significant income. One of their claims is that the municipality is applying a double standard in this matter – since bars, coffee shops and restaurants, as well as cine- mas are open on Shabbat in several parts of the city, while they are the only ones requested to close.Which shadow The decision of the Gilo neighborhood council and community center to include the rapper Hatzel in the festive show for the eve of Independence Day continues to raise opposition. A number of people, including residents of the neigh- borhood, some members of the city council, teachers and educators in various high schools in the city (not only in Gilo) have objected to the performance and have tried to convince the management of the local council to cancel Hatzel’s participation. The rapper has recently expressed a few political state- ments representing far right-wing positions, including some that have been considered blatantly racist and even inciting – though he has never been investigated by the police for these declarations. One of the reasons invoked by city council members opposed to the rapper is that the show is part of the events planned for the city for Independence Day. However, due to an ongoing disagreement between Mayor Nir Barkat and the Gilo neighborhood council, it seems that the financial support for this specific show comes not from the municipality’s budget, but from private donations. Hence the refusal, as of this writing, of the Gilo council to cancel the controversial rapper.