Israel Cabinet Approves Sabbath Bill; Seeks to Satisfy All Elements

Israel’s Cabinet approved today a Sabbath and holidays rest bill which represented a compromise between non-religious and religious elements in the Government.

The draft, providing that private, cooperative and commercial enterprises would be barred from operation on those days, was qualified by a hedge in that it excluded “regular public services” which still remain to be determined. The measure also would continue the Labor Minister’s existing authority to permit “necessary” work on the Sabbath. Men-Jewish enterprises would be exempt from the ban if they observed a customary day of rest other than the Jewish Sabbath.

A provision for a Sabbath law was included in the 1961 coalition agreement and debate on its implementation has continued since then. The National Religious Party wanted action on such a measure before the November elections this year. Mapai and its leftwing coalition partner, Achdut Avodah, are equally determined to prevent any change in the status quo in religious matters. Labor Minister Yigal Alon is expected to submit the bill to Parliament next week for a first reading but no further action is expected to be taken during the tenure of the present Knesset.

NEXT STORY