Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz told Israel Radio that his party is filing a petition with the High Court of Justice against Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz following the Tel Aviv City Council decision to run public buses on Shabbos.
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai expressed his overwhelming support for the move, backed by the Meretz faction in his city council, but the request was rejected on the ministry level.
According to Horowitz, there is no reason that a resident of the city does not have the option of getting around on Shabbos using buses. There are many people who do not have a vehicle or simply do not wish to drive he explains, adding that Katz gets around on Shabbos in his car and not everyone has this option. Horowitz added that in Haifa, major routes do operate on Shabbos and this should be the case in Tel Aviv as well.
When asked “But this is a Jewish country” he responded, “What about Haifa? Isn’t it part of Israel too? Isn’t Haifa Jewish? Aren’t there chareidim living there? Does it bother anyone there? I am not trying to compel chareidim to get on a bus on Shabbos so why get into my affairs and why not permit those who wish to use a bus on Shabbos to do so. Would tourists visit Israel is hotels closed down on Friday for the weekend? This too is an essential service. What existed in the 1980s is different than today. A generation has passed and times have changed”.
Horowitz concludes by stating about 65% of the city’s residents to not own a car and 35,000 residents are not even Jewish.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)