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Ashdod: Rabbonim Meet to Discuss Battle Against ‘Big’ Shopping Center

bigRepresentatives of both Shas and Yahadut Hatorah arranged a meeting of rabbonim in Ashdod to discuss the continuing battle against the city’s ‘Big’ Shopping Center, which has begun opening on Shabbos. The decision was made to act towards compelling the closure of the shopping center and thereby preventing the Chilul Shabbos.

The meeting took place on Tuesday, 16 Iyar in the home of Rabbi Moshe Lefkowitz, who is secretary of the steering committee that was established to address the issues at hand. Also present was the head of the Vaad Rabbonim for Kedushas Shabbos Rabbi Yitzchak Goldknoff, Rabbi Yona Erlich of Mishmeres Shabbos Ashdod, Deputy Mayor Mordechai Lieberman and Councilmen Ephraim Weber, Avraham Amsellem, Yaakov Tessler, Chaim Amsili, Ezra Schor, Meir Bein-Simon and Yinon Azoulai.

Rav Goldknoff explains he and others recently met with the head of Shas’ Moetzas Gedolei Hatorah Rabbi Shalom Cohen Shlita, who gave his bracha for their efforts to shut down the mall on Shabbos. Rabbi Cohen added the Torah Council backs their efforts, instructing them to use all means at their disposal to halt the Chilul Shabbos.

Rabbi Goldknoff presented the sad facts, that in recent years, over 50 businesses in Ashdod have begun operating on Shabbos. He pointed out this is in contradiction to the coalition agreement signed between the chareidi parties and Mayor Dr. Yechiel Lasri. The rabbi added the Shabbos opening of the Big Center represents a serious escalation in Chilul Shabbos in the city. It was decided after consulting with legal experts they will pressure the mayor to diligently enforce the law prohibiting the operation of the stores on Shabbos.

Shas and Yahadut Hatorah councilmen agreed to work side-by-side towards and this includes resigning from the city coalition government if need be. They are also planning an atzeres to shout out against the Chilul Shabbos, which is scheduled for Tuesday, Rosh Chodesh Sivan. This will take place in City Hall Plaza, hopefully attended by the city’s Shomer Shabbos residents. The rabbonim and councilmen hope the atzeres will send a clear message to the mayor that the Chilul Shabbos will no longer be tolerated and he is expected to act to enforce the law as he should. Simultaneously there will be economic sanctions as the rabbonim are calling on the tzibur to stop shopping in Big Center entirely until such time the Chilul Shabbos is halted.

Earlier in the week the Beis Din of the Eida Chareidis issued a kol korei to the chareidi tzibur to boycott Big Centers nationwide until such time the Chilul Shabbos is halted.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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