Shabbat Transportation Chaos in Israel

Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 7.48.38 AMWhether you are Jewish or a Christian who reads and studies the Torah and Tanakh (Old Testament), you believe that “Shabbat” was given to the Jewish people by God because as God rested on the 7th day, He commanded the Jewish people to rest on the 7th day. On this day, you cease all from all work and rest. Shabbat begins at the sunset of Friday and ends Saturday night and the only exemption to violating Shabbat orders is if it will help save lives.

Just prior to this past Shabbat, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu passed an order to halt train work on Shabbat, involving over 100 railway workers.  Because some did not receive the order on time many stayed and continued to work, causing chaos as more workers got called in to work on Shabbat. This also resulted in the Israeli economy losing half a billion shekels.   Workers of the bus company, Egged, and of different government ministries, as well as IDF personnel, all had to desecrate the Shabbat in order to organize alternative transportation, especially for soldiers returning to base from their weekend break.

You can imagine all the chaos and confusion this must have caused for Israelis traveling and those who continued to work on Shabbat.

A question that needs to be asked is, why was there a Shabbat order that was passed right before Shabbat, knowing it wouldn’t reach anyone without proper planning to adapt to the situation? Israel is supposed to be a democracy with freedom of choice, including choosing to keep Shabbat or not.  So a few more questions are why are there Shabbat-based laws in Israel when not everyone keeps Shabbat, and what are ways we can accommodate everyone’s beliefs?  When travel and transportation are involved, we must avoid situations like this so that it does not happen again.

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