AM:PM Closing Branches on Shabbos


am-pmDudi Wiessman has made a decision. At least some of his branches of the seven-day-a-week supermarket chain AM:PM will be closing on Shabbos, following an agreement quietly reached between rabbonim and representatives of AM:PM.

The chareidi community has largely been boycotting Wiessman’s businesses for a year and a half because of chillul Shabbos. Among Wiessman’s assets are the Dor-Alon energy group, which runs a chain of gas stations and convenience stores in Israel, and the Blue Square Israel retail group, which runs Mega and Mega Bool supermarkets. And, the arch-offender is AM:PM, whose supermarkets so far are confined to the greater Tel Aviv area.

The informal boycott became more painful when it spread to Shefa Shuk, Blue Square’s chain specifically targeting the chareidi community.

TheMarker has learned that the AM:PM outlet on Rechov Yirmiyahu in Tel Aviv was closed last Shabbos. It was always open before. “We were told by management to close the branch on Shabbos, starting from the last one,” a source at the branch told TheMarker. “We closed an hour before the Sabbos.”

The branch on Rochev Sokolov in Ramat Hasharon has been closed on Shabbos since it opened three weeks ago.

The boycott hurt. But Blue Square also took steps, cutting its Shefa Shuk outlets from 33 to 18 and converting many to Mega and Mega Bool discount outlets. The remaining ones are located in primarily chareidi areas.

When the uproar began a year and a half ago, Wiessman closed some AM:PM stores for the Shabbos such as the branch at the commercial center of Assaf Harofeh Hospital; two branches in Tel Aviv, Hadar Dafna on Shaul Hamelech and the store on Rechov Shenkin, and the branch on Ha’ro’eh in Ramat Gan.

The rabbonim refused to call off the unofficial boycott, demanding the businessman sign a written undertaking for Shabbos closure of all the branches.

About a month ago, Yitzhak Kellerman, the new CEO of Shefa Shuk, commenced negotiations with leading rabbonim to reach an agreement on closure in exchange for rescinding the boycott. R’ Kellerman is an associate of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv.

Less than 10 of AM:PM’s 40 stores close on Shabbos, which is why the chareidi community refused to rescind the ban on Shefa Shuk.

{Yair Israel/Haaretz}


  1. His real name is Yisroel Kellerman, does not have smicha, is a member of the Yerushalayim city council, and is NOT an ‘associate of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv’ shlita.