Businesses May Not Be Forced To Operate On Shabbos


The Knesset almost unanimously approved the preliminary reading of a bill to prevent forcing businesses to operate on Shabbos. This was the first bill presented by new Shas MK Yigal Guata.

“Clause 9c of the Law of Work and Rest Hours forbids discriminating against a worker who refuses to work on the weekly rest day,” the bill explained. “But the clause does not mention businesses or service providers who do not want to work on the rest day but need to do so due to contracts which demand this…

“This proposal emends the situation and creates a situation where employers or owners of commercial areas cannot force a business or service provider to work unwillingly on Shabbos and harm their day of rest established by law.”

Guata explained that he was asked to look into the proposal after the owner of a business in the Sarona commercial center in central Tel Aviv suddenly discovered that his contract required him to open on Shabbos and was fined three thousand shekels. Despite not being religious, he preferred to relax with his family on Shabbos.

The only person to oppose the proposal was MK Eitan Broshi of the Zionist Camp who said he was afraid that if a law was made to prevent the forceful opening of businesses on Shabbos, this could lead to an additional law being made to forbid anyone from opening businesses on Shabbos.

“We see people threatening the opposite against nurseries and businesses [which open on Shabbos] and a law almost passed to obligate businesses to close on Shabbos,” he said. “I agree that one cannot force a place to operate on Shabbos, but one should also not force places to close on Shabbos.”

David Steger – Israel


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