Kulanu chairman Moshe Kahlon, who signed a coalition agreement with the Likud party last week, says he wants to permit public transportation on Shabbat, in direct opposition to a stand by Likud Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz.
Kachlon is sounding suspiciously like Yair Lapid, the last government’s supposed champion of “social justice” who failed to solve the housing crisis but came up with small gimmicks to cut a few shekels off the family budget.
Kachlon, like Lapid, has climbed a giant high-rise by vowing to solve the housing crisis that would mean breaking up a long and so-far unbreakable history of government authorities playing monopoly with land and using complicated bureaucracy to drag out permits for construction.
Kachlon told Channel 2 on its Meet the Press program that although he is a “traditional” Jew, he sees public transportation as a social issue.
“The people who need public transportation Shabbat are those who don’t have the money to buy a car,” he said. “I don’t wasn’t them to have pay for a cab to visit their grandchildren.”
Katz went head-to-head with Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai last month over the issue.
Huldai wrote on Facebook, “Israel is the only country in the world that does not operate public transportation one-fourth of the year – Shabbat and holidays. Those who cannot afford to have a vehicle cannot visit family or enjoy the beach on Shabbat.”
Katz replied that Huldai can organize can do as he pleases with his own budget but that the government cannot issue tickets on Shabbat.
Public transportation on Shabbat has been in effect in Haifa for years, and local initiatives elsewhere may relieve the government of a political and religious hot potato.
A group of Jerusalem residents inaugurated the “Sha-bus” service this past Shabbat to the outlying Jerusalem neighborhoods of Pisgat Ze’ev, Gilo and Talpiot.
Approximately 500 people have signed up for the service, which is free for the time being but which will cost approximately $3 in June.
If enough people use the Shabbat bus service to allow it to continue to run, the municipality can wash its hands and say it cannot interfere with a private venture.
If there is not enough demand for the bus service to keep it running, everyone can thank the secular public for proving once and for all that Kachlon is wrong.