First Station Shops May Be Forced to Close on Shabbat

On May 16th the city council will vote on whether to allow the First Station to continue operating as a place for events and business. The Haredi parties in the city will make their vote contingent on all shops in the compound being closed on Shabbat.

Due to the nature of the site, the First Station relies on a special municipal exception in order to host the businesses and events that have made the old train station a popular attraction. In 2016, this exception was extended. However, this past week, Agudat Yisrael councilman Yohanan Weizman used his position in the Planning and Building Committee to force another vote on the issue.

Due to the current makeup of the council and the fact that Meir Turjeman will not be able to vote, it is likely that the Haredim will be able to demand that First Station businesses not operate on Shabbat if it is to continue receiving the exception. On the other hand, it is possible that some of the more moderate Haredim could abstain from voting, essentially allowing the current state of affairs to continue.

As MyNet points out, the vote will also be an interesting moment for Moshe Lion. While religious Zionists like Hagit Moshe, Arieh King, and Dov Kalmanovich are expected to support the Haredi initiative, Lion is a leading religious Zionist mayoral candidate who will need both Haredi and moderate religious Zionist support in order to win the election. Whichever way he votes could alienate a key demographic.

Last year, the Haredi parties protested municipal funding of events at the First Station on Shabbat but were unable to pass any laws preventing said funding.

1 comment

  1. What’s so terrible about Yerushalayim observing Shabbat?

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