Israel's Eurovision contestant Kobi Merimi and the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/COURTESY)
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel David Lau pleaded observant Jewish Israelis to add twenty more minutes to their Shabbat time observance because of the Eurovision in a class he gave in Modi'in-Maccabim-Re'ut on Friday.
The class dealt with the holiness of the high priest in the Temple in Jerusalem and the holiness of the 2nd century Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai.
Lau ended his sermon with a passionate plea to light the candles marking the beginning of the holy day of rest ten minutes earlier and to keep Shabat for an additional ten minutes on Saturday evening.
Citing his concern over the "massive violation of Shabbat," he expressed his regret that, while this "isn't the first time, this time it will be done with the whole world watching."
Lau was speaking of the Eurovision event that will be aired live on Saturday evening, before Jewish law rules it is permissible to do any work.
As Jewish people are instructed to keep Shabbat as a day of rest, most places of work in Israel are closed during that day as well as public transportation.
However in the case of such a massive event, work is needed, from the people who work for KAN and make it possible that the event is shown on television to drivers and sound technicians.
Seeing as most of those asked to work are Jewish people, observant Jews might regard Eurovision as a massive violation of Shabbat,
which is semi-state approved as Israel is hosting the competition and broadcasting it on its public television service.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed in a letter sent last week that the Eurovision event is not produced by the State of Israel and most of those involved with it are not Jewish.
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