In this photo made on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, first ever public bus operated on Shabbat, drives through central Tel Aviv, Israel. Tel Aviv has taken a major step to cement its status as Israel's secular mecca, launching a public transit system operating on Saturdays and redrawing the lines in the Jewish state's culture wars between religious and secular citizens. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

Sabbath buses barrel through Israel’s religious-secular rift

November 29, 2019 - 2:02 am

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Tel Aviv has taken a major step to cement its status as Israel’s secular mecca, launching a public transit system operating on Saturdays and redrawing the lines in the Jewish state’s culture wars.

The city’s move circumvents the law and upends a decades-long status quo keeping public transportation largely off the streets on the Sabbath throughout much of the country. It comes amid political paralysis that has cleared the way for what could prove to be the next battleground over the country’s ethos.

Religious and traditional Jews in Israel view the Sabbath as sacrosanct and a time for rest. But in Tel Aviv, the country’s economic and cultural hub, the Sabbath takes on a different hue. Its sandy beaches are packed, cafes are buzzing and some shops stay open.

AP Editorial Categories: 
Comments ()