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Jerusalem Municipality to Crack Down on Shabbos Violators in the Center of Town

shabbosThe matter of increasing chilul Shabbos in Yerushalayim remains high on the agenda of chareidi parties in the capital. This includes entertainment venues along with 24-hour grocery stores, which are popping up in growing numbers in the center of Yerushalayim.

Galei Tzahal (Army Radio) parliamentary affairs correspondent Michael Shemesh, who is a member of the chareidi community, quotes Jerusalem Councilman Aryeh King saying that Mayor Nir Barkat has promised him to compel grocery stores to shut their doors on Shabbos. King explains this was a component of the coalition agreements signed.

Shemesh adds that Barkat is going to issue closure orders and fine violators that operate grocery stores in the center of town on Shabbos, basing his actions on a Supreme Court ruling pertaining to operating such stores in Tel Aviv on Shabbos. The court instructed Tel Aviv City Hall to enforce the law and prohibit operating grocery stores on the holy day.

It is reported this refers to about ten such grocery stores operating in downtown Yerushalayim on Shabbos. The report has angered many non-frum activists, who accuse the mayor of giving in to the chareidim once again, at their expense, explaining the stores offer a welcome convenience on Shabbos when all other stores are closed.

City Hall officials insist inspectors have begun issuing fines for Shabbos violations months ago and there is no connection to this and the recent opening of the Yes Planet entertainment complex.

Chareidi Deputy Mayor Yitzchak Deutsch responded, telling Kikar Shabbos News “Until we see stores are shut, and the mayor adheres to the terms of coalition agreements, we will not remain silent. I will not believe this will happen until I see the stores are closed”. Deutsch added “The mayor is not doing us any favors by closing stores in the center of the city for he was supposed to do this some time ago. We spoke with him in the previous administration and he did nothing about it”.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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