Bnei Brak: State Expropriation Breach of No-Work-on-Shabbos Agreement

A bulldozer demolishing a home in the southern Tel Aviv neighborhood of Kfar Shalem in July 23 2018, as part of preparations for the Tel Aviv Light Rail. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90, File)

The Bnei Brak municipality filed a petition Wednesday to the High Court against the Transportation Ministry and NETA (Urban transport routes), claiming that the state is acting to expropriate territory under their ownership of Bnei Brak, bypassing an agreement they signed with them not to work on their legal territory on Shabbos.

The municipality claims that the state has breached an authorization agreement it signed in May 2007 with the Bnei Brak municipality, in which the municipality agreed to use the land it owns in the city to build the light rail project in Bnei Brak.

The agreement is similar to the agreements signed with other authorities in which the light rail program applies, with one difference in line with the uniqueness of the city: a ban on working in the city on Shabbos or Chagim.

In the petition, the municipality claims that as a result of the breach of the agreement, the municipality of Bnei Brak appealed to the District Court, which unequivocally stated that the agreement was valid and that the state was acting in violation of the agreement.

However, instead of admitting its mistake and complying with the agreement, the state decided to expropriate the land owned by the municipality, so that the execution of the work with chillul Shabbos, lo aleinu, on land transferred to the state would not be considered a violation of the agreement relating to the land owned by the municipality.

The petition claims that the state also chose to “trample and plunder the petitioner’s land as a solution to cover its damaged conduct.”

“It is inconceivable that the State of Israel admits that the breach has fundamentally violated the agreement, and as a result it fears the cancellation of the agreement, and instead of implementing the agreement as expected, it chooses to expropriate it. The municipality seeks to stop and cancel what it defines as “a series of illegal and illegal actions, all of which stem from the abuse and lack of good faith in the powers that the legislator has granted but not for these purposes.”

The Transportation Ministry commented that there is no dispute between the Bnei Brak municipality and the Transportation Ministry regarding the work on Shabbos, and the issue is not at all within the authority of the Transportation Minister or the Ministry’s management, but rather between NETA and the municipality of Bnei Brak.

NETA did not respond.

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