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Cinema Complex in J'lem to Work on Sabbath?

The High Court rejected a motion to open the Cinema City near Knesset 7/24, but decision is municipality's.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 3/16/2014, 3:57 PM

Protest for opening Cinema City on Sabbaths
Protest for opening Cinema City on Sabbaths
Flash 90

The High Court has rejected a motion filed by a secularist NGO, to let the Cinema City movie theater complex near the High Court and Knesset operate on Sabbaths and Jewish holidays. The decision on whether to allow the operation of the complex on Sabbaths and holidays is now at the Jerusalem Municipality's doorstep.

In the course of the High Court procedure, it turned out that the Cinema City operators do, indeed, want it to open on Shabbat. This was not clear before.

Councillor Aryeh King said that he is confident that the Municipality will vote against the opening of the business on Sabbath.

"The character of the Sabbath in the City of Jerusalem needs to be determined by the city's residents,” explained King in a conversation with Arutz Sheva. “In a properly governed and democratic city, there is a City Council that has already determined that the Cinema City will remain closed. I am certain that this position of the current Assembly will not change, since that is the will of most of Jerusalem's residents.

The Court instructed the Jerusalem Municipality to convene a new debate on the question of opening the movie complex on Sabbaths. The Municipality's decision will then be brought before the High Court.

"Jerusalem residents who want to see movies on the Sabbath can go to the three other cinemas that are open on the Sabbath,” said King – therefore there is no real reason for opening the cinema on Sabbaths.

Yossi Deitsch, Acting Mayor (UTJ), agreed with King. “The discussion shows that the High Court judges understand the sensitivity and balance that are required in a decision of this type,” he said. “I am certain that the Mayor, too, will continue to maintain the status quo in Jerusalem, and that the complex will remain closed on Sabbath.”

Hitorerut (“Awakening”), the organization behind the court motion, was pleased with the decision to bring the matter to a renewed Municipality discussion. “We congratulate the Court on demanding that the Municipality determine its position, for the first time,” said Hitorerut's Ofer Berkovitz, who is also Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem. “Hitorerut will continue to lead a determined public and political campaign, to change the agreement [with Cinema City] and open the Cinema City on Sabbaths.”

"We will do all that we can... to influence Councillors and the Mayor to bring a new and just agreement for all of Jerusalem's residents,” he promised.