The battle for Kedushas Shabbos in Israel is becoming increasingly difficult as more venues are opting to ignore the religious status quo and operate on Shabbos R”L. This was the case this past Shabbos in Tiveria, as a municipal pool operated on the holy day. The pool was being renovated in the past years and in a ceremonious event, it reopened for the summer season this past Shabbos, Parshas Chukas (in Eretz Yisrael).
Rabbonim in the northern city have instructed the tzibur to boycott the pool during the week as well and a protest was held to decry the opening on Shabbos.
Secular residents of the city told the daily Haaretz the city has become more chareidi, quoting one resident saying “woe to us if the frum Jews close the pool”.
From the non-frum perspective, the population change in the city has caused some distress, now explaining that it is difficult on Shabbos to find a place to buy coffee or cigarettes since many more stores are closed than was the case years ago.
The city’s mayor explains the pool will operate on Shabbos, adding “It is a mitzvah to learn a trade and learning to swim is like a trade”. He explains everyone should do as they please and those wishing to swim will be able to do so and others who feel it is prohibited can stay away from the pool. The mayor adds that while the pool will remain open on Shabbos, there will not be music and there will still be separate swimming days during the week to accommodate the religious community.
Surprising some, many of the city’s traditional families are up in arms too, for they are not pleased over the decision to operate the pool on Shabbos, explaining it is not pleasant for them to live near the pool that is now open on the holy day. They too plan to stay away from the pool during the week.
Agudas Yisrael representative in the city Pinchas Vaknin told Haaretz “It is not a cherem but we will not give the city a prize and we will not support it”.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)