JERUSALEM (JTA) — Tens of thousands of haredi Orthodox Jews protested peacefully on Friday night as work continued on the Tel Aviv light rail project.
The protesters sang Shabbat songs and held signs calling for preserving the Shabbat atmosphere in the haredi Orthodox community of Bnei Brak, located on the outskirt of Tel Aviv.
The protest had been sanctioned by police.
While work on the project generally halts for Shabbat, the Tel Aviv District Court on Thursday had given permission for work over last Shabbat after the state construction company petitioned to continue the work since the tunnels it was digging were in danger of collapse.
The company said that halting work for Shabbat would cause “a real danger to life and property.” A collapse would endanger residents’ lives as well as office buildings lining the busy Jabotinsky Street, a main thoroughfare in Tel Aviv, according to Haaretz.
The Shabbat work is being conducted by non-Jewish crews, the company told the court. The work is also being done underground, out of the public eye.