Groceries and kiosks will be allowed to open on Shabbat and holidays according to an amendment approved by the Tel Aviv-Jaffa (Yafo) city government on Monday.
Before the law reaches final passage, however, it must still win the approval of Israel’s Interior Ministry.
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai has advocated for passage of the law, which he maintains would allow the city to “keep the Tel Aviv spirit, one that cares for the Shabbat as the day of rest, as a social value in the Jewish State, and also allows for the provision of services and the freedom for everyone to use this day of rest as they wish.”
But city council member Rabbi Naftali Lubert, a member of the Orthodox Jewish community, slammed the statement at a stormy hearing on the matter in city hall. “This is a black day,” he said, warning, “What is about to be carried out is a violation of the law against working and resting hours. And for what? To buy beer?”
The issue also touches upon the problem of employers pressuring Jewish employees to work on the Sabbath – and denying jobs altogether to those who are Sabbath observant. Such discrimination is illegal in the Jewish State, albeit still perpetrated though rarely discussed. There may be fears the law could increase the incidence of employer discrimination against Sabbath observant job seekers in the White City.