Law Proposes Public Transport on Sabbath

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - A new bill would allow public transportation to operate freely on Shabbat (the Sabbath), although bus lines would not enter religious neighborhoods.

For the most part, Israeli law restricts or prohibits public transportation on Shabbat (from sunset Friday through sunset Saturday). In many cities, bus transportation is only allowed for special destinations, like hospitals.

The northern port city of Haifa alone allows busses to transport residents to multiple destinations on the Sabbath.

The new legislation, which would allow Egged, Israel's national bus company, to operate freely, also seeks clarification on the definitions of recreation, entertainment, culture, and activities prohibited on the Sabbath, according to halacha (Jewish law).

"We need to provide a social answer for people who don't have money, who can't by a car and travel from one place to another or visit their families on Shabbat," MK (member of Knesset ) Gilad Erdan (Likud) told YNet news.

To avoid upsetting ultra-Orthodox Jews, the bill proposes that buses not operate in neighborhoods or communities where a majority of the population is shomer Shabbat (religiously observant of the Sabbath).

"I think that most of the public is ready to honor others' right to live their lives, as long as it doesn't affect anyone else," Erdan said.

Similar proposals have failed to pass in the Knesset (parliament).

Source: YNet News

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