A lawmaker from a Haredi religious political party was one of the 15 from the municipality of Ramat Gan to have approved a bill, allowing public transport to be operated on Shabbat in the central city.
The bill was passed with an overwhelming majority of 15 to 5. It will see special shuttle buses called “Sababus” being run along the city’s main streets starting the upcoming weekend.
The project is believed to be worth approximately NIS 2.5 million ($721,000).
David Menachem, who is also the head of the Shas faction in the city, initially told those at the council meeting that he would vote for the bill “twice.”
Following the vote, however, Menachem said he thought he was solely approving the upcoming budget, unaware the budget vote was combined with the vote on the transportation bill.
"It is perfectly clear, and you don’t need to be a genius to know that I am against public transportation on Shabbat and I am against funding it,” said Menachem after the vote, claiming he was only voting for the budget, unaware of the fact he was also supporting the transportation bill.
After the vote, opposition members slammed Menachem for lending his support to the issue, which remains controversial among Israel’s religious community.
"You voted twice for it, isn’t it wonderful? What will the honorable rabbi say?" shouted at him Avihu Ben Moshe, the chairman of the council’s audit committee.
Following the heated discussion, council members also approved an extraordinary large budget for the next calendar year, estimated to be about NIS 388 million ($112,000).
Last October, Zohar Yesharim, then-Shas representatives in the council resigned from the coalition in protest over the plans to operate the Sababus line on Shabbat.
First published: 14:54 , 12.30.19