Bnei Brak, Construction Officials Discuss Shabbos Subway Work

Workers demolishing a home in the southern Tel Aviv neighborhood of Kfar Shalem as part of preparations for the Tel Aviv Light Rail. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Construction on the Tel Aviv underground light rail system is proceeding apace, and at some point in the future – probably within two years – the infrastructure work to lay track and electrical connections will reach Bnei Brak. In other areas of the metropolitan area, that work has been going on seven days a week – and a report on Channel 12 said that Neta, the Metropolitan Mass Transit Company, responsible for the work, is attempting to work out a plan that would enable it to keep to its schedule when the work reaches Bnei Brak.

That could entail work on Shabbos in the city which is overwhelmingly religious and chareidi, and in order to offset the expected opposition, representatives of Neta, meeting with Bnei Brak Mayor Rabbi Avraham Rubinstein, proposed that any work done in the city be carried out by non-Jewish staff. In addition, clearing out the debris and dirt that will result from the digging will be removed only after Shabbos. Activities that take place above ground will be done under cover of tarpaulins, so residents will be unaware that they are even going on.

In a statement, the Bnei Brak municipality said that “the conversation with representatives of the National Infrastructure Council, the Transportation Ministry, and Neta officials was positive and the sides decided to continue their dialog. With that we stress that so far no conclusions have been drawn. Any decisions that are made will have to be in line with halachic authorities accepted by all groups.”

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