Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

25 Teves 5766 - January 25, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Shipping Chamber Demands Ashdod Port Operate on Shabbos

by G. Kleiman

The Israel Shipping Chamber is calling on the Ashdod Port management to operate the port on Shabbos and holidays.

Shipping Chamber President Reuven Tzuk said a modern port, like a business or production enterprise, cannot afford to willingly cease its production for 80 days per year. The organization claims that Ashdod Port has no alternative if it wants to compete in this segment of the market, saying that in order to compete with nearby ports it must keep its docks running on Shabbos like in Haifa, where the docks have operated on Shabbos for years.

The Ashdod Port Company says that since its inception the port has not operated on Shabbos and holidays, in accordance with labor laws and collective agreements with workers. "Ever since the reform was implemented at Israel's ports, Ashdod Port has been prepared to meet advanced objectives, to improve service and to reduce waiting times," reads a company announcement. "The Ashdod Port Company is meeting its turnout goals and even increased container traffic by 8 percent during the past year compared to the previous year. In light of the significant improvement in service and [the success] in meeting the Ashdod Port Company's turnover goals, and following the extensive efforts the Ashdod Port Company's investment together with the Association of Shipping Users of Ashdod, the board of the Europe/Mediterranean Trade Agreement (EMTA) Conference decided to cancel the congestion surcharge at Ashdod Port as of January 15th. According to estimates the cancellation of the congestion surcharge will save shippers over NIS 100 million per year. These and other facts attest to the fact that Ashdod Port Company is meeting all of its tasks and goals, while still showing respect for legislation and Jewish values."

In response to the Shipping Chamber President's request, MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni said, "Tzuk's remarks are thoroughly tainted with a disgraceful lack of Jewish values and a total lack of sensitivity for employee rights in the modern age. To the Chamber President the meaning of economic progress is undermining Jewish values and worker rights. In so doing he reveals his primitive stance. I am happy with the Port Administration's announcement that the status quo will remain unaltered. Tzuk should know that preserving Shabbat Kodesh and preserving employee rights is the guarantee of success and by doing so we will be a light unto the nations."


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