Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

20 Sivan 5764 - June 9, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











UTJ Representative in Haifa Prevented Bridge Demolition on Shabbos
By Y. Arieli

United Torah Jewry's representative in Haifa, Rabbi Aryeh Blitental, prevented the City of Haifa from carrying out the demolition of the Paz Bridge on Shabbos. Following his staunch protests, Mayor Yona Yahav honored his request and ordered the operation postponed to a later date.

With the construction of a new bridge the preparations to wreck the old bridge leading from a central Haifa artery via Highway 58 toward the northern suburbs were fully underway. But on the Thursday morning before the scheduled demolition, City Council Member Blitental learned the operation was scheduled to begin Shabbos night and continue until late the next day. The plan was to explode the bridge slowly, one segment at a time. Therefore it was scheduled for Shabbos to prevent traffic jams and congestion.

When Rabbi Blitental contacted the City of Haifa he was told by certain officials that the Yeffeih Nof municipal company had been hired to execute the demolition and hinted police had asked for it to take place on a Shabbos. Blitental quickly spoke to various other city hall officials, who agreed to postpone the demolition to a later date.

Afterwards he went straight to Northern District Commander Maj. Gen. Yaakov Borovsky, who told him that police did not ask to have the road destroyed on Shabbos and he too had no objections to deferring the operation. Similarly Haifa Police Chief Nir Mariash said the police merely acts as "a contractor" and would carry out the demolition whenever it was instructed to do so. "I understood from all of the officials that there was no reason not to delay the demolition until a weekday," said Blitental. He also contacted local rabbonim to inform them of the scheduled chilul Shabbos and then MKs Rabbi Moshe Gafni and Rabbi Meir Porush, each of whom acted to prevent the demolition from taking place on Shabbos.

Thursday afternoon, upon returning to city hall to continue working to prevent the chilul Shabbos, Mayor Yona Yahav summoned him and told him he had personally ordered work postponed until a weekday.


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