"If the government is really interested in avoiding desecration of the Sabbath, and in ensuring a day of rest, it should focus its energy on stopping the illegal work currently being performed on the Sabbath".
Dr. Shuki Friedman, Director of the Center for Religion, Nation and State at the Israel Democracy Institute commented on the decision to halt work on the Sabbath on the Ayalon (Yehudit) Bridge - “The decision is questionable. If the government is really interested in avoiding desecration of the Sabbath, and in ensuring a day of rest, it should focus its energy on stopping the illegal work currently being performed on the Sabbath, which according to reports by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, is rarely done. This farce once again proves that the Status Quo, regulating rest on the Sabbath is no longer relevant or upheld. Hundreds of thousands of workers are employed on the Sabbath, and the ultra-Orthodox parties are only interested in headlines and not in strengthening the Jewish character of the State of Israel.
Friedman added that “according to a study by the Israel Democracy Institute, as of 2016 around 400,000 Jewish workers are employed on the Sabbath and around 100,000 workers are currently employed 7 days a week. Bearing this in mind – is it not worth saving taxpayers’ money and avoiding excessive traffic jams, by allowing a small group of workers to work on the bridge on the Sabbath? It is time to create a more reasonable and just balance between religion and state in Israel; a balance that will allow carrying out crucial work, but will prohibit mass employment on the Sabbath, and denying hundreds of thousands of families in Israel from enjoying a day of rest.
For the full report in Hebrew.