Israelis want rail on Shabbat

"Drawing a Red Line against Religious Coercion": Public Transportation on Shabbat

The light rail began operating in Tel Aviv will operate only five and a half days a week, and not on Shabbat

transportation shabatOppose or support transportation on Shabbat

This past Friday (August 18th) the light rail's "Red Line" began operating in Tel Aviv, however according to the directive by Miri Regev, Minister of Transportation, it will operate only five and a half days a week. This event focused a spotlight on the fight for public transportation on Shabbat and attracted a lot of attention, both socially and in the media.

In preparation for the operation of the line, Hiddush just published a comprehensive new survey, which indicates the broad support of 71% of the adult Jewish public in Israel for public transportation on Shabbat. The respondents answered that they "support allowing public transportation on Shabbat, even if on a smaller scale than on weekdays, either on behalf of the Ministry of Transportation or at the discretion of the local authorities." 96% of the secular and 81% of those who describe themselves as traditional but non-religious support this. Even among the religious and religious-national public, 29% support allowing

71% of the adult Jewish public in Israel support public transportation on Shabbat

public transportation on Shabbat. According to the findings of the survey, conducted by the Smith Institute, only 29% of respondents oppose the operation of public transportation on Shabbat, of these, 90% are ultra-Orthodox and 71% are religious.

The survey received widespread coverage in the press, on radio and in an online video on Democratic TV. The survey once more proves the extent to which government policy expresses submission to the blackmail of the religious parties and does not reflect the will of the people, including Likud voters themselves, 64% of whom support the operation of public transportation on Shabbat. Minister Regev invoked Israel's being a "Jewish State" as the reason for the policy, but this is exactly the crux of the matter, since most Israeli Jews completely reject this coercive and anachronistic notion of what the character of a Jewish and Democratic Israel should be.

As we have written previously, the protest movement is gradually expanding its horizons and

transportation in shabat 2Oppose or Support according to Knesset vote

internalizing the need to deal with the issues of Religion and the State as an integral element in the defense of a democratic Israel. This was expressed in the call by “Kaplan Force”(sponsor of Israel's central protests in Kaplan, Tel-Aviv, attracting hundreds of thousands of protesters fighting for democracy every week) that was published in preparation for the opening of the light rail on Friday: The poster reads:

"This Friday we draw a red line at religious coercion. At 14:00 go to one of the light rail train stops on the list below, protest on the platform, and close to 16:00 get on the last train (no. 3) to Neve Tzedek. Transportation will be provided back to the train stops. (List of train stops)"  

 The protest indeed took place and also resonated widely in the huge demonstrations that continue to take place In Tel Aviv and throughout Israel every Saturday night, as they have for the past 32 weeks.





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