The honeymoon between the chareidi community and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat seems to have been short-lived, with askanim calling on City Hall to enforce the law, pointing out at least 70 stores are operating in the Holy City on Shabbos, and this is simply intolerable.
City hall contacted the owner of the new 24/7 store that led to last week’s controversy, and the owner reportedly agreed to close shabbos after inspectors pointed out he lacks an operating license and the city would use all legal means at its disposal to enforce the law. City officials quickly informed chareidi councilmen that the store would not open on shabbos, but this was not the case. He did open, apparently realizing it is worth paying the fines while enjoying the revenue generated by the chilul shabbos.
Gidi Schmerling, a spokesman for Jerusalem City Hall released a statement that the “religious status quo” must be maintained. “The law prohibits opening on shabbos. Jerusalem City Hall intends to enforce the law. It should also be pointed out that this store is operating illegally, without a business license”.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)