Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

1 Teves 5761 - December 27, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Ashkelon Electric Power Station Shabbos Desecration Averted
by B. Rabinowitz

200 employees of the Ashkelon Rottenberg electric power station received notice to report for work on leil Shabbos parshas Vayishlach to take care of some repairs. However, because of the intervention of MK Rabbi Meir Porush, the Israel Electric Company retracted the notices at the last minute and notified the employees that the planned work had been canceled.

Heads of the Committee for the Sake of Shabbos have been complaining for a long time about serious digressions by the Israel Electric Company regarding maintenance and repair work that involves massive Shabbos desecration. According to Rabbi Tzvi Glassner, head of the Committee, these jobs could be completed during the week without any need to employ workers on Shabbos kodesh.

A number of religious workers asked the Committee for the Sake of Shabbos to do its utmost to prevent the work planned for that particular Shabbos. These workers said that they involved renovations which the Electric Company wants to make in the two power stations: both the old and the new.

Rabbi Glassner wrote urgent letters to the heads of the Israel Electric Company as well as to chareidi MKs, asking them to prevent this Shabbos desecration. In a letter to the director of the company, Eli Landau, Rabbi Glassier stressed: "This protracted disgrace of doing repairs on Shabbos is against the law, in addition to its being a serious affront to the sanctity of Shabbos."

In his letter, Rabbi Glassner notes that despite repeated warnings, Shabbos work in the Ashkelon stations has been taking place for a long time. In a letter to the chareidi Knesset members, Rabbi Glassner demanded a comprehensive investigation of the issue. "The obligations for Shabbos observance in a government company should be clarified."

Rabbi Glassner says that the issue involves mostly temporary employees, whose refusal to work on Shabbos would probably result in their dismissal. He also noted that in most cases, Shabbos desecration has been prevented at the last minute due to the efforts of government ministers and communal leaders. However there have been cases in which the Shabbos desecration was not discovered in time, and Jews were forced to work on Shabbos.

In the above-mentioned case, MK Rabbi Meir Porush spoke at length with the company director, Dr. Rozen, who promised to cancel the planned work, and the workers did indeed receive such notice.

The Israel Electric Company has no work permits for maintenance and repair jobs on Shabbos. Instead, it takes advantage of the huge amount of Shabbos work permits which were issued to the company, using these permits to conduct maintenance and repairs on Shabbos for which permits were never issued.

Rabbi Glassner notes that in the past, the Minister of Welfare and Labor has been asked to investigate the issue of Shabbos work at both the old and the new Ashkelon power stations. He said that this scandalous situation must be examined by an objective committee which will ascertain how the Electric Company is illegally taking advantage of its work permits.

Rabbi Glassner noted that the terrible Shabbos desecration atmosphere prevailing in the Company has resulted in a situation in which mitzvah-observant Jews are rarely employed there. Out of the company's 10,000 employees, its very few religious workers are ba'alei teshuvah who had been employed by the company before they became religious.


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