Municipal Lawyer May Advocate for First Station Closure

The First Station saga that may end in its closure continues to experience twists and turns. The most recent development, as reported by Yediot Yerushalayim, is Yohanan Weizman of United Torah Judaism seeking to make the municipality provide a lawyer to advocate for the First Station’s closure in the District Planning Committee. He intends to bring the motion to a vote next week. As the Haredim hold a majority in the council, it is likely to pass.

In addition to forcing Nir Barkat’s municipality to advocate for something that Barkat vehemently opposes it would once again force those council members in the middle of the debate to make a public decision. During the last vote, mayoral candidate Moshe Lion and Habayit HaYehudi head Hagit Moshe were absent drawing criticism from all sides. The city’s pluralist community hoped that the religious Zionist politicians would support the First Station’s opening while the Haredim wanted the religious politicians to advocate for traditional Shabbat observance along with them.

As we have written about previously, the municipality does not have the power to revoke the First Station’s special license to operate. The previous municipal vote only sent the decision to the District Planning Committee who will make the final decision. The current expectation is that the Committee will uphold the First Station’s right to operate on Shabbat.

A number of the pluralist parties organized a joint protest during the last municipality vote. However, only about 50 people attended.

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