Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau Shlita has turned to Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai to reverse the city council’s decision to request approval from the Ministry of Transportation to run public bus service on Shabbos.
“I have a feeling of deep disappointment and much pain upon hearing of the Tel Aviv/Jaffa City Council’s decision of last night to recommend operating public buses on Shabbos,” the rav said. “This is a significant blow to Kedushas Shabbos which is a remembrance of the creation, the exodus from Egypt, the day of rest and the day of spiritual elevation and family cohesion”.
The rav added the decision is a blow to the 103 year history of the city which was established as the first Jewish city, and it is synonymous with personalities such as the first mayor, Meir Dizengoff, Ehad HaAm and Chaim Nachman Bialik, who did so much to maintain the character of Shabbos in the city.
Operating buses on Shabbos is a violation of the long-standing status quo upon which the state was founded added the rav. He concluded by saying “I turn to Mayor Ron Huldai, who was supported by thousands of Shomer Shabbos voters, please, reverse your decision and don’t contribute to extinguishing the Shabbos candles. I also turn to the ministers of the interior and transportation to prevent this serious breach towards continued shmiras Shabbos”.
Rav Lau spoke with Israel Radio and when asked what he has to offer for the many Israelis who do not have a car, he explained that “We must do something to earn calling Israel a Jewish State, and this entails not running public transportation. He added that when the decision was made decades ago, there were fewer people with private vehicles but the nation’s leaders understood the need of preserving the Jewish character of the state”.
Rav Lau explained that in Paris, one does not find a club operating on Sunday. “Each state has its character and one who moves to Tel Aviv knows in advance there is no public transportation. We must define what the state is and this includes defining what is meant by a Jewish state”.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)