Tel Aviv Shabbat Committee fails to reach consensus

It will now be up to the State Attorney’s Office to draft the opinion of the government on the matter and submit it to the High Court by January in a case against the Tel Aviv municipality.

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September 7, 2016 00:18
1 minute read.
An employee of Makolet 24-hour Market on Hillel Street

An employee of Makolet 24-hour Market on Hillel Street, one of the eight markets being forced by the Jerusalem Municipality to close during Shabbat.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

After the issue of Israel Railways work on Shabbat proved contentious, the larger issue of opening commercial businesses on Shabbat in Tel Aviv proved unworkable as well for a committee of five directors- general of relevant government ministries who worked on the issue for months.

After failing to reach a consensus, the committee headed by Prime Minister’s Office director-general Eli Groner will release what a source on the committee called “options” for solving a dispute over a Tel Aviv municipal bylaw passed in 2014, which permits the opening of the stores in the city.

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Following the release of the options, it will be up to the State Attorney’s Office to draft the opinion of the government on the matter and submit it to the High Court by January in a case against the Tel Aviv municipality.

Sources in Shas and on the committee denied a report in Haaretz that Shas leader Arye Deri intends to torpedo the initiative of the committee by demanding the immediate closure of the stores on Shabbat.

“He will not make such a decision, and it will not happen,” said a source close to Deri.

A source familiar with the dealings of the directors-general committee said Deri knows he has no chance of making such drastic changes on matter of religion and state.

“Any meaningful shift of the status quo on matters of religion and state will be explosive,” the source said.

“There is a reason no big changes have been made in decades. What you saw in the dispute over work on the train is nothing compared to other parts of the Shabbat issue.”

The issue of stores opening on Shabbat resurfaced last month when a branch of the Henri’s cafe and creperie franchise opened in the fashionable Sarona Market mall in Tel Aviv, which is dedicated to fine cuisine and the provision of high-end food and products. The cafe was fined for not opening on Shabbat.


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