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Feb 29, 2012

Debating The Operating Of The Bus In Tel Aviv On Shabbos

The Finance Committee of the Knesset yesterday discussed the issue of public transportation in Tel Aviv on Shabbos.

As per the Srugim report, there were some interesting comments made by members of the panel:

  • MK Carmel Shama-HaKohen said "I don't see a constellation in which the Knesset will approve expanding public transportation on Shabbos in Tel Aviv. Such a decision is not under the authority of the iryah of Tel Aviv, it is under the supervision of the transport Ministry and of the Knesset.... Shabbos does not just belong to the Haredim - it is all of ours. I, as well, who do not keep Shabbos, see other considerations to take into account before deciding to operate public transportation on Shabbos."
  • MK Uri Orbach said, "There is a serious ramification to operating public transportation on Shabbos. If we turn Shabbat to weekday there are social ramifications. The continual breaking of the status quo in Tel Aviv must be examined, and perhaps we should even lessen the amount of public transportation in Tel Aviv on Shabbos. In the meantime, the secular are nibbling at the status quo, and if we want to come to new arrangements - we should rejudge all the issues and not just the expansion from the perspective of the secular.
  • MK Nitzan Horovitz said, "We, as free people, Shabbos is our day off and we have to give people the ability to be mobile. Somebody who does not have a car is grounded. There is no country in the world in which the public transportation does not work on the day off of work. The fact that in Haifa people travel by bus on Shabbos does not turn the Haredim in Haifa to be less Haredi than the Haredim of Jerusalem.".

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  1. Please use Shabbat in your translations. It is an Israeli issue, and Shabbat is the word, especially when quoting people who would never use Shabbos

  2. lol. I went back and forth unsure what to write. I then noticed I had written it both ways in the post and then changed them to be uniform.

  3. What is interesting is that, from a strictly halachic standpoint, public transportation is probably better than private cars, because there is one motor and one driver for 50 people, instead of say 25 cars with 25 drivers, thereby lessening the actions of chillul Shabbat.

  4. Why not make it as shabbat friendly as possible. Instead of having a battle between the secular and religious we can turn it into a halachic challenge that needs to be solved (Lets face it, people are already driving anyway).

    To start it off I propose the following:

    1. Non Jewish drivers
    2. "The weekend pass". A pass that is prepaid and covers Friday as well. Maybe even include a nice discount to encourage bus usage as opposed to cars.
    3. As soon as shabbat comes in the buses will not take money, only the weekend pass will be accepted. This forces people to plan in advance but we are part of a Jewish state and I think that we need to preserve that shabbat feel (even if it is on a bus).


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