Chacham Ovadia secures agreement with Israel Railroad


chachamovadia.jpgKol Yisrael Radio reported within the hour that Chacham Ovadia Shlita has secured an agreement from Israel Railways regarding the emergency repair work presently underway on Shabbos.
IR has never run on Shabbos, but recently began undertaking emergency repair work to close off unguarded crossings and build both overpasses where busy grade crossings exist as well as construct gates at many crossing not previously gated. Safety requirements demanded that the work be done only when there are no trains running, even at slow speed, in the construction zones. Until now IR claimed that the work was piku’ach nefesh given the number of crashes recently, but Gedoley Hatorah had come out and said find a better solution.
The compromise agreed to this afternoon guarantees only non-Jewish workers on site on Shabbos (although the senior project managers will remain Yidden as there literally are no gentiles employed at that level by IR).
The most important point in this compromise was the astonishment and praise for Chacham Ovadia’s office openly expressed by commentators on Galei Tzahal (radio station). It was a true Kiddush Hashem relative to the criticism of the threatened boycott of the two Israeli airlines.

The two points reiterated all afternoon on the Israeli news talk-show was that Chacham Ovadia sought and secured a positive compromise and solution rather than threaten; and that he succeeded even though he held no threat of a boycott — less than 1% of all monthly commuters on IR are charedi, as distinct from the airlines where they represent a legitimate segment of the clientele.


  1. what they are not saying is that R’ Litzman sent a letter to E. Yisai to walkout of the gov. if they work on shabbos & R’ ovadia said personly was going to try to solve it (it was reported in the papers p.vyasev)so with a gov. crisis loming IR was pressedo work something out. the ‘friayh’ radio is just trying to get a dig at the charadim even if the buildup R’ ovadia in the sortterm. shame on them

  2. Not to mention that there was no prior agrrement that was trampled. Don’t they think tougher measures are required espescially now that they explicitly demanded their independence from the status quo. In addition to being a privatized company rather than a govt entity which is more to adhere. The issues in ’82 were with the unions not the hierarchy.

  3. smeel, you are way off base

    Rav Ovadiya secured a major victory in shomerei shabbat. He secured it with no leverage of ridership potentially boycotting, as charedi monthly commuters on the trains are virtually zero.

    Most importantly, he went about it in a manner that is receiving public praise from every non-observant newscaster in Israel. That is as important an accomplishment as securing the agreement itself.

    We forget in our self-righteousness the importance of presenting the need to be shomer shabbat in a positive light to other jews, and to reach agreements with them not via coercion but with “panim me’irot”.

    Rav Ovadiya handled a major crisis brilliantly, there are no other words.

  4. that is exactly why Chacham Obadia is one of the greatest living people in our generation there are no words to describe him but we can try and use one word GADOL

  5. Chacham Ovadiah is a great man who succeeded in pulling off a wondeful settlement. Likely, the substantial cudgel smeel wrote about played no small role in the effort. And teh Rav apparently had negotiating partners working in good faith.

    To those holding this up as an example of how the Gedolim should have dealth with El Al, you must be unaware (or are simply ignoring) what took place:

    * Weeks ago, before anyone threw around any “edicts,” the Vaad tried speaking to El Al. The company refused to commit.

    * When that failed, threats of a boycott came to the fore. Even so, the Gedolim chose to not issue a formal proclamation, in the hope negotiations would bear fruit. El Al remained intransigent.

    * Time went on, and the Gedolim in Eretz Yisrael signed, but did not publish a formal issur. As this was happening, El Al flew another plane on Shabbos. The company claims is was a post-maintainance “test flight.” I think it’s clear that it was a “test” not of the aircraft’s mechanical system but of how far El Al could go. It ceratinly showed that the company was far from an honest partner.

    In the past, the “great minds” that populate much of the blogsphere, mikvaos, coffee rooms, and other moshvei leitzim — the collective daas baalei bayis — have found fault with the Gedolim because they felt that the Gedolim were too strident and too quick to “asser.” Now they have taken their time — and the complaints continue.

    Because, at its core — let’s face the honest truth — the “issue” these complainers of every stripe have is not what the Gedolei Yisrael are doing, but THAT the gedolim are setting any policy at all. These complainers believe that each one of them, with their “vast knowledge” of questionable integrity is equally qualified. That’s why Chazal tell us that “lo zachah, naaseh lo sam mavess,” — to someone who does not merit to properly experience Torah knowledge, that knowledge becomes a leathal poison.

    The problem isn’t at all new. Korach felt the same way — and he knew alot more than these folks do.

    The gemara (Avodah Zara 35a) tells us that when the Chachamim used to make a gezeirah, they would not give the reason for 12 months, because everyone would find some loophole.

    Those of us who are prepared to follow l’oram shel Gedolei Yisroel, who are ready to respond to their call, on every issue, of “Mi Lashem Alai,” know we are going in the path that “tzadikkim yeilchu bam.” The others, regretably, have chosen the path of “poshim yikashlu bam.”

  6. Hey ART! Are those same “great minds” the ones that populate the late minyanim, new stands, and cigarette bars?
    Asking questions are appreciated by most gedolim,,,,and following without questions is NOT better than following with questions..

  7. Sayitlikeitis,

    There’s a fundamental difference between asking a question and questioning.

    Asking them (“Torah hi velilmod ani tzarich”) is great — though the gemara there tells us that they often choose not to explain when they feel that responding will lead to pritzas geder.

    Broadcasting one’s own great opinion, or publishing “open letters,” screeds, parodies and attacks is not asking. It’s telling, mocking, reviling. And that’s what I’m talking about.

    Sorry to tell anyone who thought differently: Rav Chaim Kanievsky responds to almost any question sent to him by snail mail, not by email.

  8. if you go to ynet you’ll see i’m right. UTJ& NRU put in a no conf. motion in the Gov.about chillul shabos on IR. it will be voted on mon. next week this will push shas to vote with UTJ had R’ Ovadeia not made a deal. remember IR is owned by the gov. so there is a lot more levrage here then elal. the friayah radio ,gl”z, is just trying to mack the charedim.even it has to pump chcam r’ ovadia in the shor run so they can make there point. the truth is without threats they don’t care.

  9. Art;

    You deserve a big Yasher Koach.

    It is a big kiddush Hashem when someone is able to convey a Torah Hashkafa in an articulate way.


    You also get a big Yasher Koach, for providing facts that we did not know.

  10. Hey SMEEL
    There’s a smell (or stink) of politics in every thing that happens in E.Y., and its usually connected to $$$$ & coalition agreements.
    Kiruv, kiruv and more kiruv would be helpful.

  11. The point is the ‘chiloni’ radio paint the charedim as a bunch of wild, rioters, boycotters, non-human, pepole that do not know o behave,,, & they will teach us “see like R’ Ovadia did today that is how u are to deal with us” thay say. BUT the truth ‘evrything’ they do do for us & yes ‘evrything’ ,, is only becouse threats . just follow each story & you’ll see — that is y it is sooo inportant that have a sucsessfull boycott of elal
    yesuas hashem keheref ayn