So who uses buses in Israel? I will tell you who doesn’t: Wealthy or well-to-do people. Buses serve soldiers, teenagers, young Israelis and other people who are unable to buy a car or pay for a cab.
And so, with all due respect to the holy status quo on religious affairs that prevails in Israel, there is another term we must recognize now: The need for change.
At times we need to make changes, adapt, and correct wrongs. Clinging like junkies to an arrangement formulated 50 years ago is not only unwise; it is also impossible.
Indeed, there is no Jewish reason that would prompt me, as one who happens not to travel on Shabbat, to decide for someone else whether to travel on Shabbat or not.
Say no to religious coercion
For people who see public transportation as their only viable option, halting Israel’s bus service on Saturdays is a grave act of religious coercion bordering on fundamental violation of one’s freedom of movement.
There is no justification whatsoever for making people who require public transportation and do not keep the Shabbat hate their day off because of the flawed bus service. This does not serve religion or the religious, but rather, only provokes dispute and anger.
Just like I expect secular Israelis to refrain from traveling through haredi neighborhoods on Shabbat, even if it means that they must drive a little longer, I also expect the haredim not to prevent Tel Aviv, a fully secular city, from providing its residents with public transportation on Shabbat.