Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

26 Kislev 5768 - December 6, 2007 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Efforts to Persuade Bus Companies to Provide Mehadrin Service

By Yechiel Sever

Vaadas HaRabbonim LeInyonei Tachburoh, under the guidance of gedolei Yisroel, held a long, exhaustive meeting that ended with a decision to embark on a series of steps designed to pressure and persuade public transportation companies to allow mehadrin lines.

The members of the committee, HaRav Yosef Chaim Kopshitz, HaRav Yitzchok Yosef, HaRav Dov Landau and HaRav Menachem Mendel Fuchs, convened in Jerusalem and following the meeting released a detailed public statement on the committee's activities and the state of public transportation.

The rabbonim said they have been discussing various matters with Egged and Transportation Ministry representatives in order to make special arrangements that meet halachic requirements. The committee reiterated that this is not a charitable act toward the chareidi public, but rather its due right since chareidim constitute a large segment of public transportation users and they are paying customers.

The committee members said Egged and the Transportation Ministry are well aware of the power of the chareidi sector and they sent some of their top negotiators to maintain a calculated approach in granting the chareidi public "benefits." Following concerted efforts Har Nof and Givat Shaul were granted a new line, known as Line 15 Alef.

But very soon it became apparent that the line was just an empty gesture to push off the public who requested and received it. An inquiry revealed it only runs a few times a day, and even then the buses are not always dispatched or they run late. The committee asked Egged to increase the number of buses on the line, but received no response. Even a request to issue a bus schedule for the line fell on deaf ears, and the committee suspects that since the company has no intention of operating the line properly, it has refrained from printing a bus schedule to avoid legal claims over late buses and buses that never arrive.

The committee also took issue with the overcrowding on Lines 1 and 2 to the Kosel during Succos. Men and women were crowded together and hundreds of passengers waited for long periods of time at the bus stops. The poor service represented a failure on Egged's part to meet its commitments toward the authorities and the company compelled passengers to transgress Torah laws.

Vaadas HaRabbonim says that Egged, in an attempt to cover up its failures to properly serve the observant public, has launched an ad campaign in the chareidi press to persuade passengers it is providing special service for the chareidi sector by adding special bus lines. An inquiry by Vaadas HaRabbonim showed although Egged has added a small number of lines here and there, overall the company may have decreased the number of lines by reducing service on Line 402 in the morning and on Line 451.

The committee says Egged started running the ad campaign to cover up for its lack of consideration for the principles by which the Torah-observant community lives in an effort to weaken the power of Vaadas HaRabbonim, thereby freeing it of the obligation to provide passengers real service.

In response Vaadas HaRabbonim decided to look into a recommendation to bring before gedolei Yisroel the need to call upon the public to stop chartering Egged buses for special occasions and to assess preparedness to organize a large demonstration to be led by gedolei Yisroel, in Jerusalem or in another location.

Vaadas HaRabbonim is already making arrangements to purchase buses in order to provide alternative bus service, based on how the campaign unfolds, and therefore is asking the public, both in Israel and abroad, to make donations to cover these and other expenses. Checks may be sent to Mehadrin Transportation at POB 57049, Jerusalem (Israeli checks should be made payable to Tachburat Mehadrin). To make a donation by credit card, please call 1-800-2222-75. Funds can also be deposited directly into Bank Poalei Agudat Yisrael, Branch 184, Acct. 409-691666 or Bank Hadoar, Acct. 8461276.


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