Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai
Photo: Yael Tzur

TA Mayor: Months before Shabbat business law enforced

Following Supreme Court's ruling that Tel Aviv should consider measures other than fines to enforce Shabbat observance in city, Mayor Huldai says bylaw to be formed only after municipal election in October

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said Monday that shops and businesses open on Saturdays would not be fined until a municipal bylaw addressing the issue was formed.


"In the next 60 days, we will formulate decisions as instructed to us by the court," said Huldai, adding that the municipal bylaw will be formulated only after municipal elections in October.


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Last week, the Supreme Court approved an appeal filed by Tel Aviv grocers, and stated that the Tel Aviv Municipality should act more decisively to ensure that the AM:PM and Tiv Ta'am stores do not open on Saturdays.


The judges ruled that the municipality should consider using other enforcement measures, since fines alone fail to deter chain stores from closing, thus contributing to discrimination against grocers who cannot afford the fines.


At a city council meeting, Huldai said "The Supreme Court ruling forces us to revisit the municipal bylaw, established 33 years ago, so that it fits life in today's Tel Aviv-Jaffa – an open, free and pluralistic city – a city that never sleeps.


"We intend to find the right legal path in order to legislate the reality that was created in this city – a reality with which the majority of the residents live in peace. That is what I see as the 'Tel Aviv spirit,' which allows the observance of the day of rest alongside the freedom of each resident to enjoy it."


Huldai said that "those who know the market and the municipal budget know that funds spent on enforcement are greater than revenues from the fines, but enforcement itself has created a reality that the Tel Aviv public can endure. The Shabbat in Tel Aviv is in fact being observed – the city is at rest and most of the financial activity is at rest, and yet everyone can spend the day as they please."


"If it were up to me," he added, "there would be more accessible transportation for the city's residents."


In order to reestablish the enforcement of Shabbat and at the same time maintain the city's character, the mayor said that many months were needed. "We are dealing with a serious matter that bears great meaning to the future of the Israeli society, with consequences beyond the boundaries of Tel Aviv-Jaffa. We do not want to do it in haste, so that we are able to bring forth a proper and worthy proposal that will take into account all the aspects of this sociocultural issue."



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פרסום ראשון: 07.01.13, 23:20
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