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Elham AbolFateh
AR
Sunday 23 April 2017

Middle East

- Israeli High Court: TLV municipality can allow business openings on Shabbat

Thursday 20/April/2017 - 12:47 PM
Sada El Balad
Edited by Ahmed Moamar
Judges reject petition that sought to prohibit the municipality from approving the operation of 164 supermarkets and recreation areas on Shabbat، and ruled that there was no cause for intervention، as Ynet said.
The High Court of Justice determined that the Tel Aviv municipality is authorized to approve the operation of 164 businesses in the city on Shabbat، subject to the terms set forth in the bylaws of the city.
The decision dealt with two main areas: one part dealt with opening businesses on Shabbat in three different complexes—Tel Aviv harbor، Jaffa harbor and Hatachana complex، while the second part dealt with the opening of supermarkets in some parts of the city، but not in all of them.
The decision was made after a previous High Court ruling determined that the Tel Aviv municipality should regulate the operation of supermarkets on Shabbat. The municipality passed two decisions: the first approved the operation of entertainment complexes، and the second، the operation of some of the supermarkets.
A High Court petition was filed against this policy، but the court ruled on Wednesday that there was no reason for it to intervene in the matter.
"Different people hold different positions regarding the legal translation that must be given to the recognition of the nature of the Shabbat as a day of rest،" wrote Judge Dafna Barak Erez in the ruling.
Tel Aviv-Jaffa Mayor Ron Huldai emphasized following the High Court ruling that "as I said four years ago، the city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa was free and will remain free."
Meital Lahavi، Huldai's deputy، said in response: "We welcome the High Court's decision not to interfere with the local authority's discretion regarding the local character of the Shabbat in the community. The plan to open supermarkets on Saturday، which we decided on in the city council، is undoubtedly balanced and takes into account the variety of populations and their needs and allows for the proportional opening of businesses in a way that allows vibrant life in the city without interruption while maintaining a quiet and calm Shabbat."
Miki Gitzin، a member of the city council and director general of the Be Free Israel organization، said: "I welcome the High Court of Justice's ruling that upheld the municipal bylaws of the Tel Aviv municipality… This is a happy day for the residents of Tel Aviv-Jaffa and for anyone who wants to maintain a free society in the State of Israel."
However، not everybody was thrilled with the decision. The Merchants' Association said that "trading on Shabbat is not a symbol of individual freedom، but rather a subjugation of it. Now، the Members of Knesset have to see the good of the public at large، to create a separation between leisure and retail trade on Shabbat and to protect the weekly day of rest for small business owners and salaried employees، not only in Tel Aviv، but throughout the country."

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