Transport Ministry to Revise Schedules to Avoid Chillul Shabbos

Egged buses parked in Yerushalayim. (Sebi Berens/Flash90)

After complaints by many Israelis, the Transport Ministry has made schedule changes to 20 bus lines that in recent months have perpetrated numerous violations of Shabbos. Many of the lines continued operating even when Shabbos started, lo aleinu, with the last bus of the day ending its route after sundown. Others left on their routes before Shabbos ended.

The changes were made after complaints by an activist group that seeks to instill more Jewish content in educational and government institutions. The group compiled complaints and forwarded them to the relevant authorities, who pinpointed the problem lines and drivers.

In a letter to the Ministry, the Movement for a Jewish State rejected claims by the Ministry that it was the bus companies that were responsible for the scheduling issues. According to the group, bus schedules are controlled by computer scheduling, which is organized by the Ministry. The buses were apparently following the schedules, which had not been adjusted for winter schedules, and thus had been “overtaken” by the earlier entry of Shabbos. The group has also demanded that the Ministry discipline the employees who were responsible for failing to adjust the scheduling.

The group is also behind a High Court case demanding that sports games be banned on Shabbos. At issue is the authority of the Law of Rest, a basic law that requires that workers be given a day off from work each week – preferably the day of rest associated with workers’ religious faith. For Jews that day would be Shabbos – and according to the group, scheduling the games on Shabbos, as has been the custom in Israel since pre-state days, harms the rights of the Jewish players.


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