Israel: Jews obliged to use the grapevine?

Source: FSSPX News


On October 12, the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth revealed that ultra-Orthodox Jews had been putting locks on phone booths in the Mea Shearim district of Jerusalem from Friday at sunset till Saturday at sunset. They are doing this to prevent profanation of the Sabbath by using the phone, because the Jewish law does not allow believers the use electric machines on the Sabbath.

In reaction to these practices, Boaz Atzmon, a member of the local council and representative of the ultra-secularized party Shinui, told  the paper that he broke open the locks with wire cutters. "To lock phone booths during the week-ends and feastdays is completely crazy. It could endanger lives – nobody uses a public phone during vacations or on the Sabbath unless there is an emergency. If something were to happen, like an accident or a fire, it would not be possible to use the phones to call for help." Thus he opposes what he calls acts of religious constraint, promoted by the ultra-Orthodox parties who are powerful in the Parliament.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews questioned by the Israeli daily justified their decision by their wish to see the Sabbath respected. They had started to lock the phone booths, which Christian tourists and residents from two nearby monasteries  often used on the Sabbath. "Unlike the secularized Jews who respect us and would not dare to come to our neighborhood to talk on the phone, Christians talk for hours during the Sabbath, and we do not want our children to see that", declared Nathan Scheider, a resident of Mea Shearim.