The Israeli government on Sunday quietly approved a decision that will pave the way for public transportation on Shabbos.
The proposal of Transporation Minister Merav Michaeli (Labor) was unanimously approved at the cabinet meeting on Sunday morning – a national multi-year plan for the establishment of regional authorities for transportation, transferring the authority for public transportation from the government to regional authorities.
The significance of the move is that mayors and heads of local authorities will eventually have the power to decide when public transportation will operate in their areas of jurisdiction, including Shabbos.
The first stage of the plan will see the regional transportation authorities initiating plans for public transportation and implementing transportation projects, with each authority having a representative council for all the authorities in the region. Later, with the advancement of the legislation, the authorities will be delegated extensive powers to publish and operate public company tenders, enforcement, and more.
Within a month, the Transportation Ministry will publish draft regulations for the establishment of the Regional Transportation Authority in the Jerusalem Metropolitan Area, and by April 2023 in the Dan Metropolitan Area.
The multi-year plan will include goals for the establishment of regional authorities in the Haifa and Be’er Sheva metropolitan areas and throughout Israel, including the Negev and the Galil.
Shas MK Michael Malchieli responded to the report by stating: “The transfer of management powers of public transportation from the government and the Transportation Ministry to the local authorities is a dangerous step that will cause serious damage to Shabbat.”
“Mayors will be able to decide on public transportation on Shabbat. The Shabbat will claim its offense for its desecration and turning it into another normal travel day, rachmana litzlan. These are desperate acts in order to pass the electoral threshold.”
From the time Michaeli, who said just a few weeks ago that she plans to run the Tel Aviv light rail on Shabbos, entered her position, she began making efforts to advance anti-religious and anti-Chareidi legislation. Before the coalition dissolves, her efforts were stymied by the pressure applied by religious Yamina members on then-prime minister Naftali Bennett.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)