Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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20 Teves 5760 - December 29, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Mishmeres HaShabbos of Haifa Causes Cancellation of Merchant Meeting on Shabbos

by Yehuda Ariel

Mishmeres HaShabbos of Haifa succeeded in stopping a merchants' meeting which was supposed to take place on Shabbos. Activists of the Mishmeres threatened to get a court order against holding the meeting. As a result, the organizers decided to cancel their original plans and scheduled the meeting for motzei Shabbos.

As announced on Friday the 8th of Teves, members of the Merchants' Federation, the Garage Association and the Labor and Industry Corporation planned to hold an emergency meeting to decide on protest measures against the Haifa Municipality due to the high property taxes imposed on business owners.

Mishmeres HaShabbos of Haifa leard about these plans at its weekly meeting last Wednesday (6 Teves). As a result, the UTJ representatives in the Haifa Municipality, Rabbi Chaim Williger and Rabbi Arye Blitental, asked the meeting organizers to cancel the meeting. The organizers replied that they couldn't cancel it because they had already announced it in the papers, but that they would not do it again.

The religious activists didn't give up, and the fray was joined also by Rabbi Pesach Morgenstern, one of the heads of the Religious Bloc, and by Rabbi Arye Stern, one of the deputy chairmen of the Religious Council, who began to search for legal ways of canceling the meeting. A team of jurists was quickly convened. Chairman of the Religious Council of Haifa, Yitzchok Getz, sent the Councils' legal advisor, Mr. Zeev Rivlin, to help the team.

The jurists found a legal reason for cancelling the meeting, claiming that since the religious merchants could not participate in the meeting, it would therefore be impossible to make any binding decisions. On Friday morning the meeting organizers received warnings about the illegality of the meeting and, as a result, they decided to cancel the meeting and hold it on motzei Shabbos.

Mishmeres HaShabbos helped pay for the announcement of the postponement of the meeting, which was duly held on motzei Shabbos.

Moshe Abramowitz, Chairman of the Labor and Industry Corporation, noted that the organizers decided to comply with the requests of the mitzvah-observant merchants, and that from now on, the corporation would make certain to hold such events only on weekdays.

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