Meretz Party asks High Court to allow Shabbat buses in Tel Aviv

JERUSALEM (JWN)—The left of center Meretz Party petitioned the High Court of Justice on Wednesday to order the Transport Ministry to allow public transportation on Shabbat in Tel Aviv.

The move followed a resolution in February by Tel Aviv City Council asking the ministry to approve public transport in the city on the Sabbath. Transport Minister Yisrael Katz rejected the request, saying he would not violate the status quo.

The Meretz petition argues, among other points, that Katz is obligated by law to provide public transportation, even on the Sabbath. They also point out that some 40 percent of Tel Aviv area residents do not own a car and are thus not able to travel to the beach or visit relatives on Shabbat.

Additionally, the petitioners argue that city has some 35,000 non-Jewish residents who should be able to use public transportation any day of the week.

The Meretz petition accuses Katz of surrendering to religious coercion by the ultra-Orthodox parties in the government coalition and “hiding behind the hollow facade of the status quo.”