Kiryat Shmuel's Warburg Boulevard was closed on Shabbos at
the order of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and behind a unified
front in the Knesset.
The light traffic in the area demonstrated that the attempt
to open the road was a politically-motivated act of
provocation. The local police rejected Transportation
Ministry claims that the road must be opened to prevent
On Thursday night residents received official notice that the
road would be closed after MK Rabbi Gafni spoke with the
Transportation Minister. Hundreds of sympathizers from other
parts of the country, including 15 chareidi and religious
MKs, had been prepared to spend Shabbos in Kiryat Shmuel to
demonstrate their opposition to the recent move to open the
road to traffic after 35 years of peaceful Shabbosos. During
a Knesset meeting MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni related to the Prime
Minister that he intended spend Shabbos in Kiryat Shmuel and
participate in the demonstrations. "I will make every effort
to make sure you don't have to spend Shabbos in Haifa,"
Sharon replied. "I hope the road will be closed."
Action Committee representatives thanked Rabbi Gafni for his
work to have the road closed and residents of the adjacent
Kiryat Chaim neighborhood thanked Kiryat Shmuel residents for
their efforts, which brought quiet to the entire area.
Mayor Yonah Yahav arrived at the site on Friday afternoon to
ensure that the street would be blocked off. The municipality
is also working to promote a proposal to swap the current
center strip with the southbound lanes, creating a natural
barrier between the homes and the traffic. Residents are
demanding a signed letter promising no attempt will be made
to open the road on Shabbos until the alternative road is
paved. They say it would mean just three months of closure
since it was decided to keep the road closed during the
winter months anyway. "We will not let Shinui take advantage
of the issue for political gain at our expense," says the
"Once again it has been shown if there is a will one can make
arrangements and not trample over the status quo just because
of political motivations," said Rabbi Gafni, who is currently
checking to ensure the closure will remain in place just as
it has for the past 35 years.