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Israel’s Supreme Court: You Must Close on Saturday!!

The Supreme Court has ruled that Tel Aviv’s municipality must impose stronger penalties on businesses that stay open on Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest which runs from Friday night –Saturday night. According to Jewish law, all commerce is forbidden. However, the petitioners in this case were not ultra-Orthodox Jews concerned about the desecration of the Sabbath, but small shop owners who wanted a day off.

The large supermarket chains called Tiv Ta’am and AM:PM had stayed open despite the law mandating closure on the Sabbath, and were paying fines of $170 per week. The Supreme Court emphasized it was not taking a stand on the question of religion in Israel, which has long been a hot button issue, but only trying to enforce the law as legislated.

Unlike in Jerusalem, where most businesses, supermarkets and movie theaters close on the Sabbath, many Tel Aviv places of entertainment are open.