Chareidim Step Up Shabbos Battle in Haifa

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Shabbos.jpgThe Vaad L’Shmiras Shabbos in Haifa has sent letters to the mayor, Egged and other city officials calling for the cessation of the nighttime bus service which operates on Shabbos.

The bus service operates during the wee hours of the night on Friday nights [and other nights] in the hope of persuading the youth to rely on the buses and not attempt to operate motor vehicles under the influence of alcohol.

In the letter, the rabbonim write the bus service sets a dangerous precedent, since it may encourage other cities to attempt to launch similar services, thereby resulting in widespread chilul Shabbos by the public transportation company.

The head of Agudas Yisrael in Haifa, Rav Aryeh Blitental is quoted by the daily Yisrael HaYom as saying it is worse, pointing out the offer of the bus service serves to encourage youth to go out and desecrate the Shabbos.

The effort in Haifa coincides with the introduction of a bill in Knesset seeking to permit public transportation in Israel on Shabbos.

City Hall officials responding to the request point out that “due to the unique status quo established in Haifa since 1948 [between Jews and Arabs], there has been public transportation in the city,” adding the nighttime service does not reflect any changes in the city’s status quo and the service does save many lives by preventing many accidents.

Rav Blitental explains he is not deterred, adding the letter campaign was a first step, vowing to continue efforts towards preventing the buses from running on Shabbos in Haifa.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)


4 COMMENTS

  1. Indeed, there are very few chareidim there, it’s all Russians, Arabs and some born Israelis, virtually all secular.

    I might say that the city hall officials do have a point.

    Look, these secular (and many even non-Jewish) youths will go out anyway. If they don’t have these buses running, then they will go by car. Which is much more dangerous.

    Saying – as this Agudah rav says – that having the buses run encourages chillul shabbos is completely irrelevant. These youth do not even know what shabbos is, much less do they care about desecrating it!

    If the buses have Arab or Russian non-Jewish drivers (that shouldn’t be all too difficult to arrange), I wouldn’t mind it. If it saves lives, then it’s fine with me.