Photo Credit: Kobi Richter/TPS
Transportation Minister, Bezalel Smotrich (C), Oct 28, 2019.

“As long as I am the Minister of Transportation, it is permissible and even desirable to have stands offering information on Judaism and Tefillin at the train stations.”

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Those were the words of Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich, snapped back at an Israeli railrouad official who claimed the long-time tefillin stands maintained by Jewish outreach groups such as Chabad-Lubavitch are “illegal” and argued that they must be removed.

Such stands are also found at bus stations and at the airport and are very popular with tourists as well as local Israelis who often don’t have time to put on their tefillin before leaving home in the morning, or even sometimes forget but still welcome the opportunity to do so.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.