Report: Tel Aviv Light Rail Construction to Continue on Yom Kippur

View of the construction site for the new Tel Aviv Light Rail in February. (Flash90)

The Bnei Brak municipality will take all legal steps available, including filing lawsuits to shut down construction of the Tel Aviv regional light rail, if Neta, the company that is managing the construction, violates its agreement with the city on conducting construction on Shabbos and the chagim, chas v’shalom. “We would never have imagined that a government company would willingly violate signed agreements and contracts to halt work on Shabbos and the chagim,” Bnei Brak Mayor Rabbi Chanoch Zeibert said in a statement. “The city will, besides all of the legal actions to enforce these contracts that we are taking today, will act in all additional ways necessary to prevent these serious actions.”

Rabbi Zeibert was responding to a report on Channel Ten that work on the light rail would take place on Yom Kippur – and that it would continue seven days a week. Neta, according to the report, has informed the Bnei Brak municipality that it is impossible to shut down the boring machine that is being used to drill through rock for the construction of tunnels. That work will take place on Shabbos, the chagim, and even Yom Kippur – and it will take place as needed within the municipal boundaries of Bnei Brak.

The city on Monday morning filed a request with the court to force Neta to fulfill its obligations under its contract with the municipality. The light rail will connect Tel Aviv with its Dan region suburbs, including Bnei Brak, Rishon LeTzion, Petach Tikvah, Holon, Bat Yam and Ramat Gan.

Rabbi Zeibert termed the report of Yom Kippur work a “rumor,” but said that if Neta does try to conduct work in Bnei Brak on Shabbos, the company would face a major legal challenge. “The agreement we have with Neta – which is signed onto by the government – is that the light rail will not operate in Bnei Brak on Shabbos and chagim, and construction for the project will not take place either. The contract further says that the state, as a party to this contract, will not allow this work to take place.

“It is extremely sad that Neta will be allowing work to take place on Shabbos, a basic tenet of the Jewish people throughout the generations.” The city, he said, in recent weeks sent a letter to Neta asking it to clarify its position, and has yet to receive an answer. “Instead of clarification, we have gotten rumors that work will indeed take place on Yom Kippur, and as a result we have filed an emergency restraining order demanding that Neta fulfill its obligations,” he said.

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