Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight


Window into the Charedi World | Mordecai Plaut, director







In the Wake of the High Court Decision: Efforts to Save the Honor of Shabbos

by R. Tzvieli and Betzalel Kahn

Last week, the religious lobby in the Knesset held deliberations on the decision of Justice Ari Tivon which enabled kibbutzim to open their stores on Shabbos, a decision which is liable to destroy Shabbos observance in Israel.

Chairman of the Knesset religious lobby, Rabbi Shmuel Halpert, said that measures to pass a law forbidding the opening of enterprises on Shabbos by the kibbutzim must be taken. He stressed that owners of shopping malls throughout the country have begun to seek ways to enable them to open their businesses on Shabbos as well, a step that would wreak total havoc on the character of the nation and on Shabbos observance in Eretz Yisroel.

Rabbi Halpert reminded his listeners that Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein promised the Religious Lobby that he would personally attend to the enforcement of religious laws. However, in reality, nothing has been done, and law after law has been breached.

MK Nissim Dahan (Shas) added that even cases which involved lawsuits regarding lack of Shabbos observance have been closed due to a lack of interest.

At the end of the meeting it was decided to approach the Prime Minister about the serious breach in the matter of Shabbos. The goal is to draft a version for the amendment of the law in conjunction with him. In addition, it was decided to turn to the Minister of Commerce and Industry and demand that he cease hiring workers on Shabbos, while discriminating against other workers.

Eli Yishai, Minister of Labor and Welfare, has asked Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein to appeal the Labor Court ruling enabling the opening of stores in kibbutz Tzor'ah on Shabbos. The Attorney General told Minister Yishai that the appeal would be presented shortly.

Yishai presented a lengthy series of factors against the ruling of the Labor Court. Among them, he says that the judge erred in this ruling, since it contradicts a previous decision of the High Court which determined that the reason Shabbos was anchored in the law as the national day of rest is that "the legislator regarded Shabbos observance as a national treasure of the Jewish state."

Regarding the claim that a corporation has no religion and that it bears no personal criminal responsibility, the legal advisor of the Labor and Welfare Ministry cites a previously publicized court ruling to the effect that a corporation bears personal criminal responsibility, and that this responsibility is independent, and applies even if the organization is not sued.

Concomitantly, Minister Yishai placed a proposal on the Knesset table to amend the Rest and Work Hours Law explicitly so that it applies to corporations. His purpose is to preserve the Jewish identity of the state, not only regarding Shabbos. Yishai proposed that the penalty for those who violate this law be increased to enable the imposition of a fine of 29,400 shekels and six months imprisonment on the violators of the law.


All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.