There is a growing number of municipalities which are taking first steps to amend the law to permit stores to open on Shabbos. This includes Givatayim, Holon, Rishon L’Tzion and Herzliya. While a local court has applied the brakes to the Chilul Shabbos effort in Givatayim, municipalities are working in earnest to amend local law to permit stores to operate in Shabbos.
Municipalities are racing the clock to change their local ordinances before he national movement is armed with the Shabbos Law; the bill being pushed by the chareidim to permit the Interior Ministry to supersede local governmental decision. The law would not be retroactive and therefore, it would not change reality in Tel Aviv nor the decision of the High Court of Justice, which permits stores to operate in Tel Aviv on Shabbos.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, a member of the ruling coalition, on Wednesday, 9 Teves used social media to speak out in opposition of the chareidi bill, citing he believes the matter of permitting the opening of stores should be left to local government and not involve national government. Lieberman backs the position of Chaim Bibas, who heads the Union of Local Authorities, that opening stores on Shabbos is a local and not national matter.
Ultimately, Lieberman and his party will be called to support the Shabbos Law due to coalition agreements addressing maintaining the Shabbos status quo. The chareidi parties have signaled if they lack the required support to pass the bill into law, it will spell the end of the current coalition government.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)