Lupolianski backs plan to provide 'kosher' electricity

Move designed to eradicate pirate generator operators who present potential health hazards and noise pollution.

By MATTHEW WAGNER
December 23, 2007 22:30
1 minute read.
uri lupolianski 88 298

uri lupolianski 88 298. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski has directed municipality officials to move forward with plans to connect haredi neighborhoods to "kosher" electricity provided by Israel Electric. Residents of the designated neighborhoods would pay the higher cost for the electricity produced via "kosher" means. The move is designed to eradicate pirate generator operators who present potential health hazards and noise pollution. Examples of the hazards include unauthorized high-voltage cables close to houses and parks, and engines and fuel sources that are left exposed. Some haredi neighborhoods in Jerusalem refuse to use electricity produced by IE on Shabbat. Some Orthodox rabbis are concerned that IE unnecessarily desecrates Shabbat to produce electricity. These rabbis argue that Jewish workers perform acts forbidden on Shabbat as part of the electricity production process. In order to operate the power plants that produce electricity, workers, often Jews, are required to operate machinery and regulate the use of combustible substances such as fossil fuels. These actions are prohibited on Shabbat according to Halacha. Many rabbis rule that it is permitted to use electricity on Shabbat because stopping the production of electricity on Shabbat could endanger lives. In contrast, some rabbis encourage the use of generators since they are operated before the beginning of Shabbat and work unattended throughout Shabbat. This skirts the necessity to perform actions that are prohibited during Shabbat. In addition to Jerusalem, IE has begun negotiations to put generators in the predominantly haredi cities Betar Illit, Kiryat Sefer and El-Ad. The local residents have not yet agreed to pay for the costs. IE intends to fund the costs by charging a fixed monthly fee to all residents who use the generator-produced electricity, but all residents will have to agree to foot the bill. Jerusalem's Ramat Shlomo (Shuafat) was chosen as the first pilot neighborhood to be hooked up to "kosher" electricity. Local Council member Uri Maklev (Degel Hatorah) has met with neighborhood's chief rabbi and in the coming week the residents will be surveyed to find out if they are willing to pay the additional costs.

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