The Sarona Market.
(photo credit: MIRIAM KRESH)
A law that will prevent shopping centers from contractually requiring businesses to be open on Shabbat was passed into law on Monday after being approved in its second and third readings in the Knesset.
The law was passed 41 to 0 and supported by the opposition as well as the coalition.
The legislation, advanced by Shas MK Yigal Gueta, was in response to an incident in 2015 in which the Sarona Market shopping center and culinary complex in Tel Aviv fined the Henri’s Creperie franchise for not opening on Shabbat.
The branch operator had not himself negotiated the contract for opening the Henri’s franchise in Sarona, which included a clause that the creperie be open on Shabbat.
After the first Shabbat that he did not open the business, the operator began to receive warnings that he would be fined by Sarona Market’s parent company if he did not open on Shabbat.
The fines were, however, eventually canceled after a public and political uproar over the incident.
Gueta’s law states that any contract requiring a business to be open on Shabbat cannot be enforced, and neither will it be possible to cancel the contract or demand compensation for breaking such a clause.
Although the Law for Work and Rest Hours states that employees who refuse to work on Shabbat cannot be discriminated against, no such provisions were made for businesses or service providers which do not want to operate on Shabbat.
Gueta said his law will remedy that situation.
“This is a socially minded law of the first order,” he said after the legislation was approved.
“The bill was born after the incident in which [Henri’s franchise operator] Ofer Liperman, who worked at the Sarona complex, received a fine for simply wanting to be with his family on Shabbat,” Gueta said. “I am proud that all members of the opposition and coalition supported the law. It is a badge of honor for this house.”
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