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Israel Govt. Decides Not to Check Private Traffic on Sabbath

The Israel Cabinet decided last night not to interfere with private traffic on the Sabbath, although it agreed not to license trucks to pick up passengers on the Sabbath when public bus service is suspended.

The decision, a reaffirmation of past policy, came at the conclusion of a stormy meeting at which Minister for Religion Moshe Shapiro and Minister of Post Joseph Burg–representatives of the religious parties–raised the question of the recent street fights between Orthodox and Laborite elements over Sabbath observance.

The religious ministers demanded that the police curb “private militias” which, they charged, had broken up demonstrations by Orthodox groups against traffic in Jerusalem on the Sabbath. Minister of Police Behor Shitreet, whom the religious Cabinet members have attacked over his handling of this matter, was told to deal with the problem, and to call on Premier Moshe Sharett for consultations should the situation warrant them.

The Orthodox ministers also lost out on a demand that a Histadrut athletic club and playground established near the Mea Shearim quarter, where the ultra-Orthodox elements in Jerusalem live, should be moved to another neighborhood. They noted that money was offered to buy another club and playground site for the labor group, The Cabinet upheld the club’s right to remain where it was and guaranteed that it would be permitted to carry on its activities with the full protection of the law.

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