Tel Avivians are insulted when one talks to them about the "state of Tel Aviv," yet this past week city leaders took yet another significant step towards the declaration of such state.
City council decided to create its own Shabbat. After some 3,300 years where the Jewish people made do without public transportation on Shabbat, the council ruled that we cannot go on like this.
Should the transportation minister approve the decision, the buses will soon travel seven days a week in the first Hebrew city. At that point it would be hard to distinguish the holy Shabbat from any other day of the week even with a magnifying glass.
The smoke of the engines shall rise from the city 364 days and nights a year. The noise of the metropolis won't rest for a moment. Tel Aviv will fully reflect its PR definition as the city that never rests, without God.
Using an impressive rhetorical trick, the mayor enlisted the Shabbat itself for the cause of his campaign for desecrating the Shabbat. Mr. Huldai was interviewed by a religious media channel and explained that "many Tel Aviv residents who wish to travel to the synagogue on Shabbat cannot do so as there's no public transportation."
If someone has trouble reaching the synagogue on Shabbat without a bus, he better stay home. The traditional Shabbat charter does not allow for such contradiction. If that same person needs a bus to travel to the beach or to lunch with grandma, it's a different matter. Yet it's still problematic.
Israel not like other nationsAfter all, the basic assumption of our return to Zion was that we are not aiming to establish a state like all other states. The basic assumption of Tel Aviv said something similar. "Anyone who publicly desecrates the Shabbat is tearing apart the nation's soul and will be considered a traitor to his people," said first Mayor Meir Dizengoff. And he was not ultra-religious.
Back in Dizengoff's days, many city residents were tempted to desecrate the Shabbat for reasons of work, pleasure or convenience, yet the mayor believed that we must control our municipal urges in order to uphold the constitutive Jewish idea.
Even those who are completely secular in their own homes are supposed to understand that public behavior on Shabbat in the State of Israel cannot be the same as t public behavior overseas. A Jewish (and democratic, of course) state cannot go hand in hand with the mass movement of buses on Shabbat and Jewish holidays.
Should Tel Aviv become like Geneva and Givataim turn into Paris, what was the point of all the effort?