This coming Shabbos was to be first without chilul Shabbos in S’dei Dov Airport pertaining to civilian flights but the move seems to be on hold and once again, IDF soldiers working in the airport will be compelled to work on Shabbos again.
The chilul Shabbos is not for military flights, but for civilian flights to Eilat and other close destinations. The control tower and other operational tasks in the airport fall under the jurisdiction of the IDF.
Lt.-Colonel Rabbi Moshe Ravad, the air force’s chief rabbi, over a year ago ordered the control tower closed to civilian operations on Shabbos and yomim tovim, stating there is no permission to compel soldiers to engage in chilul Shabbos without justification, but after pressure was applied by Israir and Arkia Airlines, the implementation of the decision was delayed and has yet to begin.
Moshe Telmor, the director of S’dei Dov, in his letter to civilian airlines a number of months ago explained that beginning on 19 December, as per the orders of the air force rabbinate, the control tower will cease operating on Shabbos and yomim tovim. The same directive was given to a Haifa airport which operates a flight school and private flights among other operations. It appears however that pressure from the airlines has reversed or at least placed the directive on hold.
The IDF Spokesman’s Office confirmed the control tower continues to operate, adding a mutually acceptable solution is being sought at present.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)