Labor leader Avi Gabbay speaks at the Labor convention in Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/ MAARIV)
Labor will not be able to operate a free bus service on Saturdays, Central Elections Committee chairman Justice Hanan Melcer ruled Sunday, reinforcing his interim decision.
The party will, however, be able to continue to drive a bus through most of Israel with activists and banners calling for public transportation on Shabbat, but Melcer banned them from doing so in Jerusalem.
Shas, which petitioned against the free Shabbat buses, accepted Melcer’s compromise.
In addition, Melcer ordered Labor to pay Shas’ legal expenses.
Labor presented the ruling as a victory, saying they are “committed to promoting public transportation on Shabbat. This is not a provocation against any population, but a social need.”
Last month, Shas petitioned the Central Elections Committee calling the buses illegal, citing election campaign laws prohibiting “election propaganda connected to giving gifts” and a law defining an election bribe as “money, something of monetary value, a service or other benefit.”
The haredi party also quoted Zionist philosopher Ehad Ha’am, who said “More than Israel kept Shabbat, Shabbat kept Israel,” and Tel Aviv’s first mayor Meir Dizengoff, who said, “It is not a question of religion alone, but a public and national one; Shabbat cannot be violated publicly.”
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