Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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13 Elul 5759 - August 25, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Last Shabbos No Turbine Part was Transported

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

The High Court last Friday prevented the transport of a 250- ton turbine part to Ashkelon over Shabbos by rejecting the Friedenson Transport Company's request for an interim injunction to maintain what it called the status quo until the court hears its petition against the attorney-general, the police and the minister of labor and social affairs.

According to its definition of the status quo, Friedenson would have been allowed to transport a section of the turbine from the TAAS-Israel Army Industries plant in Ramat Hasharon to the new Rutenberg power station in Ashkelon on Friday night and on Shabbos without Shabbos work permits, as it had done the previous week. By that reasoning, if they had also committed a theft last week they should receive court sanction to do so again.

Friedenson submitted its petition only on Thursday, demanding that Labor and Social Affairs Minister Eli Yishai grant Shabbos work permits to Jewish employees involved in the transport of the turbine the following day.

It also demanded that the police escort the transport even without Shabbos work permits, and that the attorney-general withdraw his directive to the police not to escort the transport until its workers received Shabbos work permits.

In his written reply to the court Uzi Fogelman, head of the High Court of Justice Petition Section in the State Attorney's Office, said Yishai had received the Shabbos work permit request from Friedenson only the previous day and needed a week to consider it.

The judges criticized Friedenson attorney Yehiel Guttman for taking so long to submit the request.

Guttman said he faxed an informal request for the Shabbos work permits to Yishai's office on Thursday, August 12. The Labor and Social Affairs Ministry sent Guttman an official form the following Monday. Guttman mailed the form on Wednesday and it was received on Thursday.

What seemed to tip the scales was the fact that Guttman could not estimate the damages Friedenson would suffer from the delay of the transport by a week. As a result, the judges decided not to grant its request for an interim injunction.

The court scheduled the hearing for this Wednesday, ordering Friedenson to add more details to its petition, including an estimate of the damages caused by the transport delay, and ordered the state to submit its full reply by Tuesday.

The police have given Friedenson a permit to transport the turbine parts and ordered it to transport them only on Friday night and Saturday.

Last week, State Attorney Edna Arbel warned the ministry that if it refused to grant the Shabbos work permits to the company, the State Attorney's Office would not be able to defend it in court.

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