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Tel Aviv Won’t Fine Open-on-Sabbath Businesses

Tel Aviv told the Israeli Supreme Court that it will not fine businesses that have until now opened on Shabbat as it works to change a city bylaw that bans business from opening on the Jewish Sabbath.

In June, the Supreme Court ordered the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality to enforce a bylaw that bans the city’s businesses from opening on Saturday.

The municipality responded to the court late on Tuesday night, saying that it will not fine businesses that have consistently opened on Saturdays, but will fine new businesses that decide to open on Saturday in contravention of the law. The bylaw also will be enforced against businesses that disturb the public order.

At the same time, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai asked the city’s attorney to create an amendment to the bylaw that “enables the existence of a day of rest alongside each resident’s freedom to enjoy it as he or she sees fit,” Haaretz reported.

The high court justices ruled in June that the municipality and two large supermarket chains violated the municipal bylaw against opening on the Jewish Sabbath. The court suggested the city could change the bylaw to allow businesses to remain open on Saturday.

The owners of the small shops claimed they were losing customers to the chains that could afford to remain open on Saturday and absorb the modest fines levied for their transgression. The justices also suggested that the municipality continuously violated the bylaw in order to collect the fines.

Read more: http://www.jta.org/2013/09/04/news-opinion/israel-middle-east/tel-aviv-will-change-law-that-bans-businesses-from-opening-on-shabbat#ixzz2dvjx5ftY

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