Municipal Blocks in Israeli Cities Foundering over Religious Issues

The Labor-Religious Bloc coalition is foundering in a number of cities over religious issues, it became apparent today following an open rupture of the coalition in Safed and a near break which has been postponed in Haifa.

In Safed, the municipal council fell out in voting on resolutions proposing a solution for the swimming pool issue in Jerusalem. The Mapal councillors, five strong, voted to recommend that the Jerusalem pool–whose projected opening has been a national issue for months–be kept open all week long for mixed bathing.

The Religious Bloc’s two votes went for separate days for men and women at the pool and closure on the Sabbath. The General Zionists and Herut united and cast four votes for a “compromise”–that mixed bathing be permitted but that the pool be closed on the Sabbath. When the vote was announced, with the Mapal defeated, Mapal Mayor Abraham Cohen heatedly announced that the governing coalition had collapsed.

In Haifa, the municipal council postponed action on proposals to control the raising and sale of pork in the city’s environs. The Religious Bloc demanded an absolute ban, while the Mapal’s Mayor Abba Chushi favored restriction of pork sales to Christian districts. The left-wing Socialist Mapam and Achdut Avodah councillors demanded the entire matter be removed from the agenda. A decision was left until the next council session.

NEXT STORY