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December 9, 2016 / 9 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘shabbat’

Knesset to Hold Special Debate on Shabbat Train Crisis

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

After the signatures of more than 50 MKs havebeen submitted to the Knesset Secretariat, Speaker Yuli Edelstein decided to convene the plenum on September 19, while the Knesset is still in recess, to discuss motions for the agenda on the following topics:

1. The degradation of Shabbat and the harm caused to soldiers and civilians due to the train crisis

2. The political conduct of the government and the person at its helm caused severe harm to tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians

3. The hysterical conduct, lack of planning and waste of millions due to personal political considerations

The debate will be held in the presence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a.k.a. “the person at the helm.”

The Knesset Rules of Procedure determine that, in accordance with the Basic Law regarding the Knesset, when at least 25 MKs demand to convene the Knesset plenum during a recess, the Knesset Speaker will schedule a special debate.

David Israel

Haredi Interior Minister Plans Closing TA Businesses on Shabbat Save for 3 Malls

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

After several years in which Israel’s coalition governments have not been rocked by battles over the status of Shabbat, the past two weeks have seen a possible reemergence of those old barricades, with both secular and religious politicians mouthing predictable platitudes about holiness and tradition vs. freedom and rights. In that context it should be noted that until Tuesday this week the Haredi parties did not look particularly eager to return to those tiresome confrontations, seeing as they had turned a blind eye for ten years on Shabbat works carried out by the Ministry of Transport, until the same ministry, intentionally or due to political myopia, made public its intentions to conduct massive works on Shabbat, complete with blocking off many of Tel Aviv’s vital traffic arteries.

Now Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) has launched his own campaign in an attempt to torpedo the recommendations of a committee of experts that examined the Tel Aviv municipality’s bylaw which permits operating businesses in the city on Shabbat. Deri is advancing legislation to impose a sweeping ban on all businesses in Tel Aviv, including newsstands and kiosks, with the exception of three open air malls: Tel Aviv Harbor, Jaffa Harbor, and HaTachana Mall in Jaffa. The bill will also permit keeping open convenience store attached to gas stations.

The commission of directors of government ministries that was appointed to look at the Tel Aviv municipal bylaw will submit its findings sometime this September, and according to leaks in Israel’s media, those will include three recommendations: the first one recommends accepting a new bylaw crafted by the Tel Aviv municipality allowing 160 businesses to operate on Shabbat; the second recommends reducing the number of businesses currently permitted to operate by 20%; and the third recommendation, proposed by former Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar, to designate specific areas where businesses are permitted to stay open on Shabbat.

Once the committee recommendations are delivered, and the new Tel Aviv bylaw goes into effect, Interior Minister Deri will have 60 days to respond, after which the new law stays. Deri apparently plans to fight all three recommendations, even at the cost of eroding the Netanyahu coalition, and his staff has also been instructed to craft an atomic solution, to be used only if the coalition is certain to collapse, declaring Shabbat as the day of rest for all of Israel and barring everything that moves from doing it on Shabbat.

JNi.Media

Former Shas MK: Solve Train Problem the Jewish Way – Use Goyim

Monday, September 5th, 2016

Former MK Rabbi Haim Amsalem told the website Srugim Sunday that Jewish Law provides a simple and practical solution to the problem of performing crucial infrastructure labor on Israel’s railroads on Shabbat, a problem which was threatening the stability of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s coalition government: use gentile employees.

“The simplest solution would be to follow what Jewish Halakha says and facilitates,” Rabbi Amsalem advised. “In a country where 20% of the citizens are not Jewish, when there is a compelling need, we can utilize ‘goy shel Shabbat,’ (‘Shabbes goy’) for all the labor that involves the desecration of Shabbat. We’ve done this for hundreds of years, everybody is familiar with the concept — the gentiles would receive an increased pay and Jews wouldn’t be required to work on and desecrate the Shabbat,” Rabbi Amsalem said, noting that “everybody is for a modern and democratic Jewish State, so this should be a fitting solution.”

Rabbi Haim (Emile) Amsalem, 57, a native of French Algeria who immigrated to Israel in 1970, was among the founders of Shas and served as its MK, until, following a breakup with his colleagues, he launched his own party, Am Shalem (a play on his name, meaning “whole nation”) that failed to make it into the Knesset in the 2013 elections. He is considered a moderate Haredi who believes in a dialogue with secular Israelis.

“In general, it can be stated that the state institutions for the most part observe Shabbat, which is something anyone arriving in Israel from abroad notices. It may not be exactly as we want it to be, but we can’t focus only on the negative,” Amsalem told Srugim.

Pointing out that the law already provides for government to be able to issue permits for Shabbat work that relates to security, crucial economic concerns or any other matter affecting the public’s welfare, including hospitals, the power and the water utilities, Amsalem suggested that the clash over the railroad works over the past two Shabbat days was mostly about politics.

“In the end, those who cry out for the alleged honor of Shabbat ends up causing a much bigger, mass desecration. We strive to reach as broad an agreement as possible on the value of Shabbat, of its image and its respect by the public. Our role as rabbis is to take care of Shabbat observance, but when it is necessary we must find halakhic solutions that would facilitate a normative existence for society at large, and won’t cause hatred for Shabbat on the part of the public,” Amsalem said.

“In a Jewish State it is permissible to employ those for whom those vital works on Shabbat are permissible,” Amsalem concluded. “This way the needs of the modern state would be fulfilled while the demand of our Torah regarding Shabbat observance in public would be obeyed.”

JNi.Media

Let Us Violate Shabbat So As To Sanctify It

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

“He who wants to enter the holiness of the [Sabbath] day must first lay down the profanity of clattering commerce, of being yoked to toil. He must go away from the screech of dissonant days, from the nervousness and fury of acquisitiveness and the betrayal in embezzling his own life. He must say farewell to manual work and learn to understand that the world has already been created and will survive without the help of man. Six days a week we wrestle with the world, wringing profit from the earth; on the Sabbath we especially care for the seed of eternity planted in the soul. The world has our hands, but our soul belongs to Someone Else….

The seventh day is the exodus from tension, the liberation of man from his own muddiness, the installation of man as a sovereign in the world of time….

The Sabbaths are our great  cathedrals; and our Holy of Holies is a shrine that neither the Romans nor the Germans were able to burn…”

(Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man [NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1951] pp. 13, 29, 8)

Shabbat is serious business, not only because of its halachic requirements but also because of its magnificent and majestic message. To violate it is not just a transgression but a tragedy. Its desecration undermines what it means to be human and to be a real Jew. It deprives mankind of its own sublimity.

It is not the renouncement of technical progress that Shabbat requires but rather the attainment of some degree of independence from an ever-increasing race and cruel struggle for our physical existence, in which we are all involved and which denies us embracing the presence of an eternal moment.

There is only one sanctity that is even greater than Shabbat and that is the holiness of the human being. When we have to choose between these two sanctities, Jewish law is clear: The human being takes precedence. (Yoma 85b; Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Shabbat 2:3)

If it is true that the Tel Aviv Light Rail and the high-speed train connecting Tel Aviv and Yerushalayim will indeed save countless human lives by having people switch from car to rail, Halacha will without any doubt demand of us to work on Shabbat to complete construction as soon as possible. Any postponement would be a terrible violation of Halacha itself.

But as Jews, let us make it into a celebration. We can observe Shabbat while working on this holy day. Instead of asking non-Jews to take our place, let us gather as many religious Jews as possible to join in this undertaking and do this work in the spirit of Shabbat and Halacha. Here are some suggestions:

We can organize shacks at the work sites where some people will make Kiddush and where a special Shabbat atmosphere will be created and tasteful Shabbat meals, kept warm according to the laws of Shabbat, will be served. There will be alternate minyanim where the workers can hear the reading of the parsha and say their Shabbat prayers in shifts. Participants can sing Shabbat songs and someone can say a nice d’var Torah informing everyone of the great mitzvah they are performing by working on the holy Shabbat so as to save lives.

Lets us give all the workers colored Shabbat helmets and ask all others who stand by to give instructions to wear nice kippot.

There can be flags and ribbons flying and large posters displayed at the work sites proclaiming: “The people of Israel shall keep the Shabbat, observing the Shabbat throughout the ages as a covenant for eternity.”(Shemot 31:16);“And one shall live by them [My laws]” (Vayikra 18:5)… “and not die because of them.” (Sanhedrin 74a)

Let us make a Jewish celebration out of this. We can show our fellow Israelis and the world that we love Shabbat but that it will not stand in the way of the sanctity of human life. It will actually advance our spirit and commitment to Judaism. Let us reveal that Halacha can deal with the requirements of a modern democratic Jewish state in an unprecedented way.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Let us not fail to live up to the challenge of making us all proud to be committed Jews.

After all, is it not Shabbat that made us Jews and that now gives meaning to the State of Israel? Why, in fact, be Jewish if not for this great institution called Shabbat?

Sure, some of my readers will say that these suggestions are insane. But let us not forget what philosopher and writer George Santayana once said: Sanity is madness put to good use.
 

Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo

Meretz Chairwoman Forced Supreme Court to Work on Shabbat

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

Meretz Chairwoman MK Zahava Galon forced the Israeli Supreme Court to desecrate Shabbat, with an appeal which was already irrelevant when she filed it, argued pundit, author and Holocaust scholar Itamar Levin in a column he published on the News1 website.

Galon appealed to the court on Shabbat day, Sept. 3, asking that it order the Ministry of Transport to carry out the scheduled works on the Railroad infrastructure which had been halted on Friday night due to Haredi party pressure. “This meant that the employee on call at the reception had to receive the appeal and pass it to the Justice on call, which happened to be Anat Baron,” Levin wrote, suggesting this could also mean that the people on call in the Justice’s chambers had to work on Shabbat as well.

But, as turns out from the Justice’s ruling, also given on Shabbat, the appeal was not urgent and did not justify forcing a state employee to desecrate Shabbat. Justice Baron wrote: “The appeal was submitted today, Shabbat day, at 3 PM. When it was submitted, the infrastructure works had been ceased yesterday, following the prime minister’s order shortly before the start of Shabbat. Under these circumstances there is no point in issuing the requested injunction in response to a situation which the appellant claims was created on this weekend.”

Justice Baron instead ordered the State to respond by Monday, Sept. 5, to Galon’s appeal for an injunction — an appeal she could have submitted Saturday night, Levin wrote.

Israeli courts, including the Supreme Court, maintain skeletal Shabbat and Holiday shifts to respond to the most urgent needs. These include police requests for injunctions to prevent the smuggling of children, or for arrest warrants. But Levin wrote that he did not recall any other time when the Supreme Court was compelled to desecrate Shabbat to deal with an administrative issue such as the works on the railroad.

JNi.Media

Everything You Wanted to Know About the Shabbat Train Coalition Crisis – and Weren’t Afraid to Ask

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

The Shabbat infrastructure railroad works that have rocked Israeli politics over the past two weeks have been going on quietly during Shabbat for the past ten years, with the Haredim turning a blind eye on them, and everybody remaining happy. Now at least two wars are being waged over the same routine works, one between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Transport Minister Yisrael Katz, the other between UTJ and Shas and the Prime Minister and Transport Minister — because the rule of thumb for Israel’s Haredi parties is that as soon as a government violation of Shabbat is exposed publicly, it must stop or the Haredim walk. That was the reason the Haredim stood up on their hind legs a week ago, when the Israel Train Company announced delays in entering Tel Aviv on Shabbat due to infrastructure work that could not be done during the week.

The Israel Railways corporation is state-owned. It means that, unlike the privately owned bus and taxi services, which operate during some or all of Shabbat, depending on the city, the railroad must obey the laws of Shabbat, at least as long as the Haredim are part of government. “Had the railroad company continued to perform those projects quietly, without media attention, the Haredim would have kept quiet,” a source inside UTJ told JNI.media. “But as soon as it became known, no Haredi party could remain in government with those works going on.”

This was the root of the crisis which on Sunday morning is paralyzing traffic across Israel. Someone at the IR decided to make a big announcement — most likely because they had the public’s interest in mind. The infrastructure works necessitated closing down Rt. 20, an eight-lane highway that cuts through the Tel Aviv metropolitan area and on Shabbat ushers in thousands of shoppers and entertainment seekers from around Israel.

As soon as they became public, those railroad projects turned into a ticking bomb. Last week, the Haredim accommodated the Netanyahu government, because, frankly, Netanyahu has been the most pro-Haredi prime minister ever, and anyone who would replace him would necessarily be harder to work with. So they agreed to the concept that there were some infrastructure projects that had to be carried out on Shabbat, because on regular weekdays they would threaten the lives of the thousands of motorists roaming nearby.

The following Thursday, before the most recent Shabbat, the Haredi parties again examined the planned works and approved three out of the 20 proposed projects as, in fact, constituting risk to lives on weekdays.

But over the past week there were growing voices in the Haredi community that expressed doubt regarding the very idea that the secular Transport Ministry, which is not run by rabbis, would rule on halakhic issues such as Pikuach Nefesh (Heb: saving a life). As a result, those three approved projects received added scrutiny from the Haredi politicians, who concluded they were no different from the rest and should be carried out on weekdays as well.

The former chief rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yisrael Lau, told Israel Radio that secular politicians are trying to “hold the stick on both its ends,” a Talmudic term meaning trying to argue both ends against the middle. On the one hand, Rabbi Lau said, secular politicians are demanding that businesses be permitted to stay open on Shabbat, because Shabbat is the only time hundreds of thousands of Israelis are able to pack Tel Aviv in search of shopping, dining and a good show; on the other hand, Shabbat is when those railroad works should be carried out because that’s when the city is empty, and none would be harmed from potential work accidents.

The train infrastructure works which began at 5:30 PM Friday, were interrupted two hours later by an order from the prime minister’s office, after Shabbat had already begun. These works constituted the three out of 20 projects which the Haredi Parties initially agreed were dangerous to life had they been carried out during the week, but then those same Haredim had a change of mind and/or heart, at the very last minute, literally.

Initially, the PM’s office and the Transport Ministry ordered the Israel Train Company to proceed with the works into Shabbat, as had been the case every month for the past 10 years. A group of 200 employees arrived at 5:30 PM at the railroad track segment between Tel Aviv and Hertzlia, and started to take it apart. But later that same early evening, the Haredi parties announced they reject the compromise, which is why at 6:30 PM, moments before the start of Shabbat, the PM’s office ordered the work to stop.

The order reached the workers at the site at about 7:30 PM, and they dropped everything and left. No one bothered to consider what would happen Saturday night and Sunday, since it would take about 25 hours to complete the work. A similar infrastructure project near Atlit, south of Haifa, was likewise interrupted Friday night.

So, who is the real culprit in this crisis? The Haredim for insisting that a government in which they are members not openly desecrate Shabbat? The Prime Minister’s office, which capitulates to Haredi pressure because this coalition is probably the best political combination Netanyahu could have hoped for, and he’s not giving it up over one day’s suffering by Israeli passengers? Or is it Transport Minister Katz, who chose to turn an ordinary, behind the scenes project that’s been going on uninterrupted — into a full-blown coalition crisis?

We suggest all of the above. And the solution to this crisis will probably be the firing of Transport Minister Katz, because he started it, looking to erode the boss’s coalition. Expect blood — Yisrael Katz has friends inside Likud, who may rise up to defend him, as Welfare Minister Haim Katz has already done.

JNi.Media

The Keys to the Jewish Kingdom Tour [photos]

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

If you’re touring Israel and don’t go inside a Hamas terror tunnel and visit an Iron Dome installation, it’s like going to Disney World without buying the special backstage pass to see the Magic Kingdom’s underground Utilidor tunnels and other hidden areas.

U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon visited southern Israel on August 29, 2016.

He stopped at the Kerem Shalom crossing point to see how goods enter and leave the Gaza Strip.

He was briefed on and toured a Hamas tunnel that had been discovered by the IDF.

He met with local residents from several communities at Kibbutz Or HaNer, and at the Kibbutz he toured the Ornit factory.

He also visited an Iron Dome battery (but wasn’t allowed to press the red button).

That’s the Jewish Kingdom’s backstage pass tour. Beats Disney any day of the week – especially Shabbat.

Thomas Shannon in Southern Israel

Thomas Shannon in Southern Israel

Photo of the Day

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/the-keys-to-the-jewish-kingdom-tour-photos/2016/08/30/

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