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Israel News for 9-11-17

Supreme Court
The Supreme Court today rejected a petition to force the government to allow public transportation on Shabbat. The petition was filed by the Reform movement’s Center for Religion and State, along with the Hiddush NGO and Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg. The judges pointed out that the prohibition against public transportation on Shabbat is an explicit law and can only be circumvented by a special license requested by a company. Justice Chanan Meltzer said, “You cannot appeal in the name of a company which does not exist.”

In a related matter, Haredi political leaders have been pressuring the PM to stop Israel Railways from carrying out construction on the new Jerusalem Tel Aviv line on Shabbat and Jewish holidays.

For further reading click here.

Shabbat Soccer
The government is considering officially permitting professional soccer matches on Shabbat, in the face of opposition from the Haredi parties and from many soccer players.

While Israel’s top league rarely plays on Shabbat, its lower leagues play almost entirely on Shabbat, which makes it impossible for religious-observant athletes to complete. Israeli law forbids forcing someone to work on Shabbat.

The Supreme Court recently accepted the petition of the Movement for a Jewish and Democratic State, which claims that holding soccer matches on the Sabbath is against the “work and rest hours” law and the government must order the cessation of games on the Sabbath or to adjust the games to satisfy requirements through legislation or regulations.

In response, the government plans on invoking a legal mechanism that allows a company to obligate its employees to work on Shabbat to prevent significant economic and cultural damage.

Last week more than 310 soccer players from Israel’s top two leagues signed a petition calling on PM Netanyahu not to amend the law, and thereby force them to desecrate the Shabbat.

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) said yesterday that his party would not allow legislation permitted soccer on Shabbat to mover forward. Shas ministers concurred.

According to a new poll just released, the majority of Israelis believe that soccer players should not be forced to play on shabbat and that the games should be postponed to allow shabbat observant fans to attend.

For further reading click here.

No Tefillin Fine
Last Friday a Chabad emissary in Herzliya set up a table near the Chabad house and was offering men the opportunity put on tefillin. A traffic enforcement officer ordered him to remove the table and then fined him 750 shekels for bothering pedestrians. Yesterday, the mayor of Herzliya, along with a delegation of city officials, publicly apologized to Rabbi Halperin, the Chabad rabbi in town, for the incident, claiming a misunderstanding.

The mayor also wrote a letter of apology to the Lubavitcher Rebbe (deceased) asking for forgiveness.

For further reading click here.

Sonic Boom
Israeli jets apparently flew a bit further north and caused a sonic boom over the south Lebanese city of Sidon yesterday morning. The sonic boom reportedly shattered glass in building and stores. Lebanese security officials told a Hezbollah-affiliated radio station the Israeli sorties were part of a large training exercise to prepare for future war with Hezbollah. The IDF did not comment on the reports. Lebanon is planning to lodge a complaint with the UN.

For further reading click here.

Bad Boy
Yair Netanyahu, the son of the PM, posted a nasty cartoon on his Facebook page which included caricatures of opposition leaders and resembled Nazi era anti-semitic cartoons. He took the cartoon down, but not before causing a huge storm of protest. He also drew praise from unlikely source: the neo-nazi publication The Daily Stormer, which heaped praised upon him and his cartoons.

To read more about this click here.

Florida Rescue
An Israeli rescue team organized by the Israel Rescue Coalition (IRC), an umbrella group of rescue groups, arrive in Florida yesterday ahead of hurricane Irma. Moti Elmaliah, a spokesman for the IRC, said, “Our job as volunteers will be to help the community and deal with the situation as best we can in the absence of American officials, until they arrive. We will take care to organize residents’ committees to deal with the issues that arise from Hurricane Irma, which has been classified as the most powerful storm ever to hit the Atlantic Ocean.”

The IRC also recently sent teams to Houston to assist in rescue and recovery efforts there.

For further reading click here.

9-11 Memorial
Ambassador Friedman participated in a memorial service sponsored by the US Embassy in Israel to remember the victims of 9-11. The service was held at the memorial built by the JNF outside of Jerusalem. Opposition leader Isaac Herzog laid a reef and spoke representing the Israel. No government minister was present at the event.

Let us all take a moment today to remember and say a prayer for those that lost their lives in the tragic 9-11 terror attack.

To view the entire event on the embassy’s Facebook page click here.

Inspirational Performance
This inspirational performance about coexistence by Yonatan Razal and Motti Hamar is worth watching – click here.