The haredi population in the central Israeli city of Bnei Brak has been torn for years over the kashrut of electricity production. Entire communities are forced to pay NIS 120 (about $33) every weekend in order to connect to a generator, as they believe that the Israel Electric Corp's power generation desecrates Shabbat.
They are confronted by other haredi residents who see no halachic problem in connecting to the national electricity network, and are forced to deal with the pollution and noise created by the generators. These residents have been trying for a long time to put an end to the operation of generators in the heart of the populated area, accusing the operators of the generators of trying to make a profit with rabbis' support.
This battle has been taking place in courts for years, with no apparent solution in the horizon.
So where will the electrifying solution come from? That's right – the IEC is investing a lot of money and resources in making electricity kosher. About NIS 500,000 ($137,000) to be exact.
The plan is quite simple: Applying automation procedures in the power stations on Shabbat and leaving non-Jewish workers to observe the automatic production. And of course this will all be subject to the religious supervision of the Scientific-Technological Halacha Institute.
Will the drop in the number of workers on Shabbat spill into weekdays too? Perhaps, but the IEC prefers to focus on the message that because it is a state-owned company, rather than a private or privatized one, it incorporates social considerations into its decisions such as mending rifts in society, or in other words – settling disputes in Bnei Brak.