It is a law that will change the so called Status Quo.
The Status Quo was an agreement reached between Prime Minister David Ben Gurion and the Rabbi Avraham Yeshaya Karelitz, the acknowledged leader of the Lithuanian Jewry in
But many store owners just ignored the Status Quo arrangement and have kept their stores open on Shabbos. The Charedi contingent in the Knesset has over time tried to enforce it and they have met with mixed results. The most recent success was the El Al boycott.
I have never been a fan of religious coercion. I believe that to the extent that there is any large scale anti religious feelings amongst the populace in
I understand the reason that the religious segments of Jewry (including until now the NRP) have fought so hard for to keep the Status Quo agreements in place. The argument is that
But the real issue is not whether... Torah law in
Those who do the forcing, obviously think that the 'vinegar' approach is a necessary one. It is after all a 'life saving' elixir.
This new legislation will change all that.
For the first time in
So how can a religious group like the NRP support anything like this? The answer is: I’m not sure. There is something troubling about changing an existing definition of Shabbos which is Halachic into one which is not Halachic. But that being said, it is also understandable.
An article in Ha’aretz points out that the status quo arrangement with respect to Shabbos is completely ignored by anyone who wishes to ignore it. More now than ever. What this bill does is formalize the real status quo.
This is in large part due to the influx in recent years of immigrants from places like the former
‘The Israeli Sabbath is a sober example of the irrelevance of the so-called status quo. Some 230,000 Israelis work on Saturdays in commercial centers, which are visited by some 40 percent of the population who have an annual consumption rate of more than
As would be expected Charedi leadership in
Maybe the opposite will happen. This new approach can over time change the feeling by secular Jews of being coerced. The feeling of hatred can thus be reduced over time. Maybe even eliminated. This can open up doors here-to-fore closed to Kiruv. By eliminating the ‘vinegar’ we can try a new ‘honey’ approach. The net result can be that instead of increasing Chilul Shabbos, it can actually be reduced.
And by making Torah Jewry more benign, it can also reduce the tension in other areas... like army exemptions for Yeshiva students.
The hatred may not turn into love over night, but at least it has a better chance of changing in that direction. If one looks at the religious/secular relationships in
Frankly, it may not be such a bad idea.