Ads published in ultra-Orthodox newspapers called on the haredi public not to visit the market on Fridays an hour before the beginning of Shabbat so as not to cause the merchants to desecrate the holy day.
Under the title, "An emotional appeal," the committee members wrote that "many buyers arriving just before the candle lighting time make the store owners to close their shops after the sirens have already announced the start of Shabbat.
"(The merchants) still have to reach their destination, not to mention the fact that some of them live out of town. Our leaders have instructed us to make it known that buyers must complete their shopping at Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market and leave the premises an hour before the beginning of Shabbat."
It should be noted that shoppers arriving at the market just before Shabbat are of a low socioeconomic status, and do so in an attempt to buy products for cheap prices before the stores close.
The market workers' committee was unhappy with ads. According to committee member Eli Mizrahi, the rabbis' appeal to the public is exaggerated. "No one is desecrating Shabbat at the market and most people who live here are traditional and observe Shabbat. I, for example, close at 2 pm. An hour before Shabbat the merchants aren't even here. Last Friday at 4 pm, 95% of them were already gone."
According to Mizrahi, the shoppers have no reason to arrive at the market in the late afternoon hours as there is no price reduction before Shabbat. "The greengrocers have begun keeping the remaining goods in refrigerators for Sunday."
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