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October 1, 2016 / 28 Elul, 5776
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Tel Aviv to High Court: Business as Usual on Shabbat

Supreme Court: "The only thing being damaged is the rule of law."

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Israel's "second city" is a lot more like New York than Jerusalem on Saturday morning. In fact, this image is from the website shabatopen.co.il, specializing in informing users about where to dine and shop on Shabbat.

Israel's "second city" is a lot more like New York than Jerusalem on Saturday morning. In fact, this image is from the website shabatopen.co.il, specializing in informing users about where to dine and shop on Shabbat.



Tel Aviv City Hall has responded by an inquiry from Israel’s Supreme Court regarding businesses which violate the legal prohibition against operating on Shabbat by suggesting businesses within its municipality will continue to be free to operate and no fines will be issued to them.

The response from Israel’s “second city” came after a decision of the justices, a few months ago to oblige Tel Aviv to correct the situation in which the laws of keeping Shabbat are not being enforced there.

According to the City, businesses which have remained open on Shabbat so far will continue to do so without being fined. On the other hand, businesses which would cause a disturbance to nearby residents would be fined by city inspectors.

The City added that the entire issue of Shabbat operation is expected to be taken up by the next mayor, following this fall’s municipal elections.

The Supreme Court ruling was issued by Chief Justice Asher Grunis, and Justices Miriam Naor and Elyakim Rubinstein, following an appeal by several Tel Aviv business owners complaining about a lower court decision in February, 2012, not to force the Tel Aviv municipality to close businesses that operate on Shabbat.

The Supreme Court decision stated: “The chain stores benefit from an additional business day, the City treasury takes in considerable amounts of additional income, and the only thing being damaged is the rule of law.”

Should the new City administration choose to eliminate the municipal laws against operation on Shabbat, this would damage directly all the businesses that require kosher certification, which is not awarded businesses that stay open on the day of rest.

Yori Yanover

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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