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Israeli Rabbi Wants ID Cards for Non-Jews To Work on Shabbat

A prominent Israeli rabbi said that non-Jews in Israel should carry identification cards issued by the state’s Jewish religious authority marking them as not Jewish as part of a plan to make commerce in Israel adhere to Jewish law.

Yisroel Rosen, the head of the Zomet Institute which creates technology in accordance with Jewish law, said that Jewish businesses should be allowed to remain open on the Sabbath but only if they are staffed and managed by non-Jewish workers. These non-Jewish workers would carry identification cards issued by the Israeli rabbinate.

Rosen’s proposal, which he made in a blog post seeks to solve the longstanding impasse in Israel over whether private businesses should be allowed to stay open on the Sabbath, when Jewish law prohibits Jews from doing work. Public offices and public transportation in Israel shut down from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.

Israeli law allows municipalities to make their own regulations about what businesses may remain open on the Jewish day of rest. In the so-called “Shabbat wars,” Jerusalem and Tel Aviv businesses have been levied with fines for staying open on Saturdays.

Contact Naomi Zeveloff at [email protected]

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