Landmark Ruling in Israel: Grocery Stores Opened on Saturday
By Pastor Hal Mayer on Dec 12, 2017 12:30 am
In a landmark ruling on a deeply contentious issue, the High Court of Justice ruled on Thursday that grocery stores can remain open on Shabbat in Tel Aviv. The decision follows a decade-long struggle against the practice between small business owners and the municipal authority.
Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) lawmakers reacted with fury to the ruling, vowing to introduce legislation that will override it and even give the Knesset the ability to override High Court rulings more broadly.
The case involves a petition by small business owners against a Tel Aviv municipal bylaw passed in 2014, which only went into effect earlier this year, allowing 165 grocery stores to open on Shabbat around the city. Some small grocery store owners objected to the opening of stores by large grocery chains on Shabbat, saying that it forces them to open on their day of rest in order to compete for customers who would not be available during the week.
After successive interior ministers failed to approve the bylaw, the High Court in April this year ruled that the government must allow it to come into effect. “The balance does not favor one worldview over the other, does not detract from the status and importance of the Sabbath as a national asset of the Jewish people and as one of the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state,” wrote outgoing Supreme Court President, Miram Naor. “[But] while protecting the special character of Shabbat, every individual must be allowed to formulate his Shabbat in accordance with his own path and his beliefs, and fill it with content that is appropriate for himself.”
In response to the ruling, Interior Minister and Shas chairman Arye Deri said it was “very sad to reveal that in Israel, desecration of the holy Sabbath, which Jews throughout the generations have given up their lives to observe, has become a flag and symbol.” He claimed that he has already come to an agreement with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to rapidly advance two government bills, which would grant the interior minister the requisite authority “to protect the public character of the Jewish Sabbath.”
In order to promote Sunday observance on a global scale, the enemy must depreciate the value of the Sabbath for Jews, so that they are more ready to comply with Sunday laws. “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him.” Revelation 13:8.