"A state based on Jewish law is a religious state; it's Iran," he said.
- Op-ed: Time for Shabbat change
Huldai, a devout secular who made headlines last year when he vowed to introduce public transportation in Tel Aviv on Shabbat, said he is concerned about the implications of Israel's growing religiosity.
"Herzl did not speak of a Jewish state, but rather, about a state for Jews," he said. "A Jewish state would mean…Jewish law instead of democracy. If we'll have an ultra-Orthodox majority here, Israel will turn into a fundamentalist state like Saudi Arabia."
Israel is currently the only state in the world that funds an education system without having control over the curriculum, Huldai said, referring to haredi schools. This state of affair is a "disaster," he said.
"We're producing a reality that is breaking us up from within," he said. "The notion of independence is not to be taken for granted, especially for the Jewish people, and we should keep in mind that the Temple was ruined because of a civil war."
'Fight for Israel's character'Turning his attention to the contentious issue of public transportation on the Jewish day of rest, Huldai expressed his confidence that Tel Aviv would ultimately offer bus service on Shabbat.
"I'm continuing to fight for it, and I'm telling you that eventually there will be public transportation on Shabbat," he said. "It will happen during my term in office."
Huladi stressed that the fight for Shabbat transportation is fundamentally a social issue.
"It's social insofar as one who cannot afford a car would be able to travel on Shabbat without spending a fortune on cabs," he said.
"The fight for the right for public transportation on Shabbat is a struggle for the state's character," Huldai said. "There is no reason in the world why a resident of Haifa cannot get on a train on Shabbat and arrive for a picnic at (Tel Aviv's) Yarkon Park. The time has come to break the status quo vis-à-vis the haredim."
Full interview published by Yedioth Ahronoth
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