Members of the Vaad for Shmiras Shabbos and representatives of a number of ‘badatz’ hechsherim in Eretz Yisrael met with heads of the Phenicia Glass Works Company in the hope of persuading the latter, which provides bottles for products in Israel, to halt its Chilul Shabbos. Phenicia provides bottles for many wineries, bottles used for wine and grape juice in Israel, presenting a challenge for the Vaad and badatz hechsherim.
The meeting was held on Tuesday, 6 Elul, during which a senior company official explained the ovens that turnout the glass are heated to 1,600 degree Celsius, and reaching such a temperature takes a bit of time, as it does to cool down. This is why they operate seven days weekly. The factory is shut down one day a year, on Yom Kippur, and the bottles churned out on Yom Kippur are ground and reprocessed rather than used. In order to bring the factory back to operational status, it takes thirty hours.
During the meeting the sides decided on a number of steps as well as a schedule by which the Chilul Shabbos surrounding continued production would halt, a dateline that sets the objective within three months.
Phenicia officials tried explaining the realities surrounding production, and how efforts to curtail Chilul Shabbos have already been implemented. The rabbonim explained that regarding Shabbos, there can be no compromise and a solution must be found as is done on Yom Kippur.
One of the solution discussed was to shorten the time it takes to resume operations, which now stands at 30 hours. An outline was formulated, to be implemented by Chanukah.
The rabbis asked that the rabbinical committee and kashrus officials immediately announce that bottles of Phenicia could be purchased, but the rabbis made it clear that this is not possible, since the public demands that the product it holds be free from Chilul Shabbos.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)