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Orthodox Leaders Insist on Sabbath Ban on Traffic in Jerusalem

September 19, 1956
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The commission investigating the death of 55–year-old Pinhas Segalow during an anti-traffic demonstration on the Sabbath of Sept. 1, heard today three more Orthodox witnesses who testified in favor of keeping the ban against traffic on the Sabbath.

Rabbi Ezra Attiyeh, head of a Sephardic Yeshiva, asserted that Jerusalem, which is the “heart of the nation,” has a unique spiritual association and enjoys the reverence of the entire world, including Jewry. Rabbi Attiyeh insisted that the Torah exhorted the non-religious to observe the Sabbath and that the demonstrators were performing a “good deed” in terms of the Torah when they attempted to persuade the non-observant not to desecrate the day.

Rabbi Shlono Zevin, who criticized the methods of the ultra-Orthodox Neturei Karta which sparked the demonstration, said that flouting the Sabbath was tantamount to desecrating Jerusalem, Israel and the Jewish nation because Jerusalem is a symbol of the nation. While he granted that there was no question about the right of prying into the personal lives of citizens, this was not a case of religious coercion of private conscience. He noted that there was a national law forbidding commerce and trade on the Sabbath and said that taxi operations came in under that ban.

Shlomo Lorenz, Parliamentary deputy representing the Orthodox Agudah labor group, said that the anti-traffic demonstrations could only be halted by force since the matter touched on deeply rooted feelings among the people of Jerusalem. He called for changes in police personnel in order to effect a better understanding between the authorities and Orthodox residents.

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