Public transportation on Shabbat? Ramat Gan to launch it on July 19

The bill was passed with 15 members of the city council's coalition voting in favor. Six voted against.

July 10, 2019 22:41
1 minute read.
Jerusalem bus No. 13

Jerusalem bus No. 13. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

The Ramat Gan City Council passed a bill on Tuesday to allow public transportation to run on Shabbat to locations such as the beach and other entertainment centers.

Ramat Gan Mayor and ex-Likud MK Carmel Shama-Hacohen put the decision up to a vote by the city council’s coalition, claiming it is a “subject of conscience.”

The bill was passed with 15 members of the coalition voting in favor while six voted against. Shama-Hacohen concluded the vote by saying that, “We argued! From now on, we are all loving and respectful brothers. The Jewish people depend first and foremost on unity.”

According to the bill, two bus lines will begin operating on July 19 and will pass through existing bus stations across the city. The city council assured that the lines will not be stopping in areas that would disrupt religious members of the community.

The bill received harsh criticism from leaders of United Torah Judaism (UTJ) rabbis Ya’acov Litzman and Moshe Gafni, who claimed that the decision crosses a redline and that it had been made through selfish motives.

“The Ramat Gan City Council made a shameful and disgraceful move by approving the operation of public transportation on Shabbat and Jewish holidays, while violating the status quo and ignoring the feelings of tens of thousands of religious residents of the city,” the UTJ heads said in a public statement.

Yisrael Beytenu leader MK Avigdor Liberman congratulated the move on Twitter, claiming it was made with consideration, and that he hopes more city councils will follow suit.
Israel Hofsheet (Be Free Israel) CEO Ori Keidar also congratulated the move, saying: “The blessed initiative joins a series of cities that take care of the secular public. Where the state makes difficulties, the cities operate in a simple and appropriate way for the benefit of the public.”

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