Opposition Leader Calls for Bus Service on Shabbos

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egednnA new Knesset caucus has been formed called “The People, Religion & the State”. Heading the lobby is opposition leader MK (Labor) Yitzchak Herzog and MK (The Movement) Elazar Stern. The caucus is committed to amending the current religious status quo, which includes permitting entertainment sites to open on Shabbos as well as providing free bus service.

The lobby’s first meeting was hosted by the two in Knesset on Wednesday, 12 Adar I 5774, focusing on the need to offer residents bus service on Shabbos. Attending the meeting were MKs Dr. Ruth Calderon (Yesh Atid), Dr. Dov Khenin (Hadash), Amram Mitzne (The Movement) and representatives of local government and NGOs.

Participants agreed, that over the years, the character of the nation and the lifestyle of citizens have changed, and they feel the time has come to revamp the so-called religious status quo to reflect new realities. Addressing the forum was a representative of the Institute for Zionist Strategies, presenting a position paper which supports the opening of entertainment and recreational businesses on Shabbos and to provide public transportation. The paper calls for prevent Saturday from becoming a regular work day, seeking to maintain it as the national ‘day of rest’.

Data provided by the Knesset Research & Information Center was shared, documenting that many municipalities have learned how to adapt to their local realities regarding enforcement of law prohibiting businesses from operating on Shabbos, and this was the subject of a recent YWN-ISRAEL report. This includes all types of businesses.

Stern explained that the lobby was created to preserve the character of Israel as a Jewish democratic nation while seeking to accommodate new and current realities regarding the changing Israeli lifestyle.

Caucus member Calderon added she wishes to change the status quo. “The Shabbat is a weekly respite from the daily routine and materialism, providing an opportunity for the neshama yeseira we have to feel free. My vision is the mind expanding cultural venues will open on Shabbat free of charge to offer their beauty to visitors of all ages with free public transportation. The way of the Israeli Shabbat is social agreement through trust”.

Rabbi Rafi Feuerstein, a mora d’asra in Har Nof Yerushalayim, a senior member of Tzohar Rabbonim and Vice President of the Feuerstein Institute welcomed the discourse stressing “There is a need for legislation on the subject because the current situation has hurt the weaker sectors”.

One of the arguments of the pro-Shabbos bus service camp is that because bus service is not available, people without cars and unable to afford taxis cannot travel on Shabbos. For the frum, this is exactly what they are seeking but opponents insist that bus service must be available in the areas where residents seek it, at least limited service on main roadways.

Another point made by advocates of Shabbos bus service is that it would significantly curtail the number of drunk drivers and this would prevent injuries and deaths.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

4 COMMENTS

  1. come on mr. kuperman
    tell us all again how us chareidim should join forces with the left wing because they care about us and our needs.

    if you reallyu want to make a difference; move to eretz israel and vote in the elections.
    you dont need to sit in govt. just give your vote to the chareidi parties.
    if enough of you “anti’s” would move here and vote in stead of just complaining (from your comfortable home in boltimore) we could have a lot more influence