Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar on Sunday overturned a municipal by-law that allowed Tel Aviv supermarkets to remain open on Shabbos. However, he ruled that stores in a small number of specific commercial centers can continue to operate on Shabbosos.
According to Sa’ar’s ruling, only stores in the touristy Tel Aviv port, Jaffa port and Tachana (Tel Aviv’s old railway station) areas, as well as convenience stores attached to gas stations, will be allowed to stay open on Shabbos. The decision is effective immediately and will be implemented this Shabbos.
In March, the Tel Aviv City Council approved an amended by-law that allowed some supermarkets and convenience stores to do business on Shabbos. The amendment came after the Supreme Court ruled that Tel Aviv must issue clear guidelines for supermarkets and convenience stores. Until then, stores that stayed open on Shabbos were fined, a price the big chains were able to pay, but which harmed small businesses. The updated by-law allowed stores in certain areas of the city to stay open on Shabbos.
Sa’ar rejected the reasoning behind the by-law, saying: “These business owners are criminals, who for years operated illegally, opening their businesses on Shabbat despite the law, and now [according to the amended by-law] they will receive the ‘reward’ of being officially allowed to open their businesses on Shabbat.”
Read more at Israel Hayom.