Transportation Minister Michaeli: 'Tel-Aviv light rail to operate on Shabbat'

Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli said in an interview that as of next year, the light rail in the Gush Dan area will be active on Shabbat.

 TRANSPORTATION MINISTER Merav Michaeli attends a news conference at the new Allenby underground station of the light rail red line in Tel Aviv, in June. (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
TRANSPORTATION MINISTER Merav Michaeli attends a news conference at the new Allenby underground station of the light rail red line in Tel Aviv, in June.
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli said in an interview that as of next year, the light rail in the Gush Dan area will be active on Saturdays, N12 reported on Friday.

"It's my decision; I've made it after considering all of the implications brought to me by experts," she said.

It is unclear whether Michaeli has the authority to make such a decision as she currently serves in a transitional government, with the next Israeli election set to take place on November 1. 

"It's my decision, I've made it after considering all of the implications brought to me by experts."

Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli

The debate regarding the activity of public transportation on Saturday is a long-standing and passionate one, with heavy implications for the day-to-day lives of many Israelis. 

A minimized version of public transit already operates on Saturday in Gush Dan, with the Weekend Transportation service operating between seven cities. The service consists of ten lines that allow intercity travel during hours when regular public transportation is closed, taking into account the areas where Shabbat is highly observed.

Merav Michaeli elected as Labor leader, July, 18, 2022. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)Merav Michaeli elected as Labor leader, July, 18, 2022. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

Opposition to the decision

The statement is sure to spark outrage from the religious parties, who fiercely oppose any public transit during the holy weekend day. 

Those who oppose the move would likely claim that this decision collides with the status quo agreement, which bars any public transit from operating in Jewish cities during Shabbat.