TA chief rabbi: Reverse TA Shabbat buses decision

Lau deeply disappointed by vote; Gal-On appeals to A-G over Transportation Ministry's refusal to consider request.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
February 21, 2012 11:10
2 minute read.
Tel Aviv bus

Tel Aviv bus 521. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau said he is filled with a deep feeling of disappointment by a Tel Aviv-Jaffa city council decision to seek permission from the Transportation Ministry to operate buses on Shabbat. He asked Tel Aviv-Jaffa Mayor Ron Huldai to reverse the decision.

"This decision harms the history of Tel Aviv, which was founded 103 years ago as the first Hebrew city," Lau wrote in a statement. In asking Huldai to reverse the council's decision, Lau said he was writing in the name of the thousands of people who keep Shabbat who supported his election."

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


The Tel Aviv Municipal Council approved a resolution Monday night to ask the Transportation Ministry for permission to operate public transport systems on Shabbat.

Proposed by Meretz Councilwoman Tamar Zandberg, in conjunction with the secularist Be Free Israel organization, the motion passed 13-7, and was also supported by Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai.

“Whoever doesn’t want to get on a bus on Shabbat doesn’t have to,” the mayor said after the vote.

According to the proposal, the municipality will request permission from the commissioner for public transport of to operate public transit on Shabbat. The commissioner is authorized by law to approve such requests in cases where a municipality considers such services to be essential, as well as in situations where public transport serves a non-Jewish population, or for the purposes of transport to a hospital.

The Transportation Ministry, however, already said Tuesday that it would reject the request, which it says goes against the status quo.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On subsequently made an appeal to Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein on Tuesday over Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz's refusal to consider the request, saying that his decision-making process would not stand if challenged in the High Court of Justice.

"The secular majority in Tel Aviv is interested in the operation of public transportation on Shabbat, as was seen in a discussion and vote held by the city council," Gal-On wrote to Weinstein. "Enacting the operation of public transportation on Shabbat would advance principles of social justice and improve the environment and freedom of religion."

Before making a decision, she added, the transportation minister "must weigh the Shabbat transportation needs and desires of people who do not have private vehicles."

Binyamin Babayouf, a Tel Aviv city councilman for Shas, told The Jerusalem Post that he and his party would fight against any effort to run public transport in the city on Shabbat and festivals.

“The [ancient] Greeks, Stalin and Communist Russia and many others have all tried to prevent Jews from observing Shabbat, but none of them succeeded and they won’t succeed here in Tel Aviv, either.

Babayouf denied that the lack of public transportation on Shabbat constituted religious coercion and said that no one was trying to force people to be religiously observant.

Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Riot
August 31, 2014
Rioting resumes throughout east Jerusalem Saturday night

By DANIEL K. EISENBUD