Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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








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Religious Community Requested to Boycott Shabbos- Desecrating Stores in Yarkonim Junction

by A. Cohen

In light of the guidelines of maranan verabonon, the gedolei umeorei hador, rabbonim, roshei yeshiva, Torah- observant Jews from all circles are asked to boycott the stores which publicly trample Shabbos in the Yarkonim junction shopping center in Petach Tikvah. These stores include Office Depot, Knei Uvnei, Hypertoy and Home Center.

On a side note, a new disclosure which appeared in the business section of the Israel daily, Ha'aretz, stated that the center in the Yarkon Junction was built illegally. The commercial area was in fact built without the proper building permits.

Last week, the Committee for the Preservation of Agricultural Lands and Open Areas of the Interior Ministry rejected the request of the promoters to approve the use of the area for business instead of agricultural purposes. The current use of the area for stores is thus not sanctioned. This should mean that the promoters have to close the center either immediately or immediately following their appeal of this ruling, if one is filed.

From the committee deliberations it is evident that although the area is still considered an agricultural zone, the Regional Committee for Building and Planning, headed by Aaron Levi, approved the irregular use of the land.

The Yarkonim shopping center, which includes 12,000 square meters (120,000 square feet), is fully rented to commercial enterprises, and no agricultural use is currently made -- or is even possible.

The Committee also accepted the zoning change in principle, but opposed the granting of permits before the plans were accepted. Moreover, the request of the developers to change the zoning was made only after the building violation had already been committed. An additional request by the owner of the land to build a structure of 2000 meters on the area was made at this meeting. Construction on this structure has yet to begin.

Although the entire shopping center was built without a license or legal building permits, the legal authorities made no effort to close the stores on the site on Shabbos or on weekdays. By doing so, they are actually in violation of the law as well as of standard operating procedure.

This week, the Petach Tikvah Chief Rabbinate and the Shabbos Menucha headquarters circulated a list of the names of stores which desecrate Shabbos in the Yarkonim junction. Among these are: HaMashbir Hamercazi, Home Center, Sport Depot, Hypertoy of the Greenberg Food Company, Office Depot, Ace Knei Uvnei, Naalei Dafna, Tsomet Sefarim, Aidy Dizen, the Yarkonim Nursery, and Zu Eretz Chayot Machmad (pet store).

The chareidi and religious community all over the country was asked to boycott these Shabbos-desecrating stores, and in that way make it clear to their owners that they will not profit from Shabbos desecration. Some of the Shabbos- desecrating stores belong to retail marketers with branches all over the country. Some even seek to establish other stores in chareidi centers. There is no doubt that when the storekeepers know that no Shabbos observers will patronize a store which tramples the Shabbos, they will reconsider their behavior.

Alongside the need to boycott the Shabbos-desecrating stores, the rabbonim issued a list of Shabbos-observant stores and urged the public to encourage store owners who keep Shabbos in the Yarkonim junction. This list includes Hyper Rosenfeld store, the Amit nursery, the Machsanei Chashmal, Machsanei Slonim, Night Sleep Center, Superpharm and Beitili.

Shabbos activists in the city warn that the continuation of Shabbos desecration in the Yarkonim area will result in a terrible breach in the walls of Shabbos throughout the country.

Shabbos activists expressed the fear that if public figures do not do everything in their power to close those stores, many other store owners would yield to competitive pressure and also open their stores on Shabbos.

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