JUDGE ORDERS LABOR TO STOP ‘SHABBAT BUS’ AHEAD OF ELECTION

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JUDGE ORDERS LABOR TO STOP ‘SHABBAT BUS’ AHEAD OF ELECTION

BY LAHAV HARKOV      FEBRUARY 15, 2019 16:1

Supreme Court Justice Hanan Melcer, chairman of the Central Elections Committee, ordered the Labor Party to stop operating bus services on Shabbats as part of its election campaign, following a petition from Shas on Friday.

For the third week in a row, Labor planned to operate a bus on Saturday, as part of its election campaign calling for public transportation on Shabbat. On Friday, they announced a circular route through major areas of Rishon Lezion.

“It’s economical, and it’s just,” Labor’s spokeswoman said. “Labor is committed to promoting public transportation on Shabbat. It is not a provocation against any population, but a social need. Hundreds of thousands of citizens are not willing to pay thousands of shekels on taxis or stay trapped at home.”

Shas then petitioned the Central Elections Committee calling the buses illegal. The party cited election campaign laws prohibiting “election propaganda connected to giving gifts,” and a law defining an election bribe as “money, something of monetary value, a service or other benefit.”

The haredi party also quoted Zionist philosopher Echad Ha’am, who said “more than Israel kept Shabbat, Shabbat kept them,” and Tel Aviv’s first mayor Meir Dizengoff, who said “it is not a question of religion alone, but a public and national one; Shabbat cannot be violated publicly.”

Melcer, however, ruled that Labor must stop operating the buses, saying that they are, in fact, “election propaganda connected to giving gifts.” The parties will have a chance to bring new response before the Central Elections Committee on Monday, which will then come to a final ruling on the matter.

Labor leader Avi Gabbay said: “Today they want to cancel our Shabbat bus in Rishon Lezion, but Labor has two main promises: public transportation on Shabbat and a two-term limit for prime ministers. We won’t let Shas decide whether there is public transportation on Shabbat. On April 10,” – the day after elections – “we will change that, as well.”

Source: JPOST

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