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February 17, 2016 9:20 am

Likud MKs Express Support for Public Transportation on Shabbat

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An Israeli bus. Several Likud party members of the Israeli Knesset expressed support for the prospect of running public transportation on Saturdays. Photo: Wikipedia.

An Israeli bus. Several Likud party members of the Israeli Knesset expressed support for the prospect of running public transportation on Saturdays. Photo: Wikipedia.

JNS.org – Several Likud party members of the Israeli Knesset, at a Knesset Economic Affairs Committee meeting on Tuesday, expressed support for the prospect of running public transportation on Saturdays.

The surprising Likud support for the controversial move comes amid Likud MK Miki Zohar’s recent efforts to enforce the closure of businesses on Shabbat. Still, Zohar voiced support for limited public transportation on Saturdays.

Likud MK Nava Boker said, “We need to arrange public transportation on Shabbat while being considerate to religious people. The current situation not only harms the Jewish religion, bringing needless hatred upon it, but it also harms disadvantaged community members [who may not have access to private transport].”

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Boker suggested implementing public transportation on Shabbat in accordance with the Gavison-Medan Covenant, a document drawn up by Professor Ruth Gavison and Rabbi Yaaqov Medan in an effort to find solutions to the issues caused by the rift between the observant and secular communities in Israel.

Kulanu MK Rachel Azaria also supported finding a public transportation solution for Saturdays.

“I come from a traditionally observant family, and it is precisely for that reason that it is so hard for me to see so much hostility and disagreement over the day that should unite us the most,” she said.

Knesset research on the topic presented at the meeting revealed that since 2012, the number of bus lines allowed to run on Shabbat has jumped from 164 to 387, though some 15 percent of routes are driven without a permit for Shabbat driving.

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