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.