A number of Jerusalem councilmen have filed a petition with the High Court of Justice seeking to compel Jerusalem City Hall to permit opening Cinema City on Shabbos R”L.
The councilpersons including Deputy Mayor Ofir Berkowitz of the Hisorarus party have signed the petition to the court in the hope of permitting the opening of the city’s new recreation center, which includes a number of movie theaters and a mall. Cinema City is located in proximity to the Supreme Court Building and it was understood during construction that the complex would not operate on Shabbos for doing so would represent a significant violation of the city’s religious status quo.
To date, the complex has remained closed on Shabbos, backed by Mayor Nir Barkat and former Finance Minister Dr. Yuval Steinitz. However, since taking office, Finance Minister Yair Lapid has been working to permit and compel the opening of the complex on Shabbos. While his efforts to date have been unsuccessful, it is not the result of Lapid not working in earnest to open the complex on Shabbos.
Efforts to persuade the High Court to order the opening of Cinema City on Shabbos have led to the court instructing petitioners to bring the matter to negotiations in Jerusalem City Hall. Now however, petitioners allege that City Hall is not taking their requests seriously and the city has not abided by the court’s decision to host serious discussion on the matter. The councilpersons will now explain that since the city is not willing to address the matter, they are compelled to turn to the court for assistance.
Chareidi members of the Jerusalem City Council are calling on Mayor Barkat to dismiss Berkowitz from his deputy mayoral slot for his persistent efforts to increase chilul Shabbos in the holy city.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)