Haredim demonstrate in Bnei Brak
Haredim demonstrate against light rail works on weekends
After court allows construction works on Jewish rest day in Bnei Brak, city's rabbi calls on ultra-Orthodox residents to protest against Shabbat desecration.
Thousands of members of the ultra-Orthodox community are demonstrating in Bnei Brak in the wake of Tel Aviv's District Court's decision to allow the NTA Metropolitan Mass Transit System to continue the light rail construction works on Saturday in the city.



The police authorized the demonstration, and closed Highway 4 to traffic in all directions until 9pm.


Haredim demonstrate in Bnei Brak
Haredim demonstrate in Bnei Brak


In addition, the police allowed the Haredim to block Jabotinsky Street from the Ben Gurion Junction in Ramat Gan to Hayetzira Street.


The court accepted NTA's arguments according to which halting the light rail construction works on the weekends might pose a life-threatening risk, and allowed the company to continue working on the Jewish day of rest.


Police closes Highway 4 to traffic
Police closes Highway 4 to traffic


Bnei Brak's municipality relied upon its agreement signed in 2012 with the state. According to the agreement, the state committed not to conduct any construction works on Shabbat and Jewish holidays.


However, Judge Limor Bibi sided with NTA's experts who said the works must proceed on the weekends in order to prevent any possible danger to human lives.


The experts argued that the work resumption in the light rail tunnels after a deliberate pause would cause the ground to collapse and jeopardize the workers inside the tunnels.


The experts added that sinkholes can also be formed in populated areas near the light rail construction site, causing damage to houses and businesses.


Bibi criticized Bnei Brak Municipality, saying it did not manage to refute NTA and its experts' claims.  


Thousands protest against light rail construction works on weekends
Thousands protest against light rail construction works on weekends


The municipality presented a Home Command document stating there is no risk of building collapsing into the light rail routes. However, the document did not address the issue of halting and then resuming the construction works.


Nevertheless, the judge stressed that NTA should not have gotten involved in a situation which causes Shabbat desecration. 


NTA CEO Yehuda Bar On said during the hearing that he prefers to appear before the court for breaching an agreement rather than as a defendant charged with negligent homicide.


Following the court's decision, Bnei Brak's residents received a recorded call from the city's Rabbi Moshe Yehuda Leib Landa urging them to demonstrate against it.


Light rail construction works site
Light rail construction works site


"I call on Bnei Brak's residents (to go out and demonstrate).


"I've looked into the light rail issue and I'm well aware of when a risk is posed and when it's not," the rabbi lashed out.


"After an agreement has been signed with the government according to which construction works wouldn't be conducted on Saturday, (the court) has decided to allow it. All sorts of dangers are being invented," he went on to say.


"They just want us to stop discussing the Shabbat," Landa vented.


"Our obligation (to protest) is not only to the city of Bnei Brak, but to the God that gave us the Shabbat.


"We should protest against the Shabbat desecration. Our protest, of course, should be quiet, without any clashes," he added.


"We have to protest while praying against the injustice of Shabbat desecration in Bnei Brak," the rabbi concluded.




פרסום ראשון: 09.21.18, 21:41