Pro-Shabbat bill passes preliminary reading

'Weekly day of rest' to protect small businesses which remain closed on Shabbat.

Hezki Baruch ,

MK Miki Zohar
MK Miki Zohar
Knesset spokesperson

The Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved MK Mickey Zohar (Likud)'s Weekly Day of Rest bill Sunday afternoon in a preliminary reading.

"This is an impressive achievement and a historic one for the State of Israel and to help the public and for anyone who wants to rest and spend time with his family during the weekly day of rest of Israel - which is the Shabbat day," he said. 

"I intend to sit down and discuss the law with the relevant bodies, businesses, organizations and all those who fear that the law will hurt them, in order to reach a true and fair [understanding of the] law [with] the general public."

The bill will ban businesses opening on Saturday without special permission from the Economy Minister and also ban conditional or contract work on Shabbat, forcing employees to work on Shabbat, or penalizing workers for protesting Shabbat work.

Violating the ban would be considered "an injustice against citizens," and business owners will be able to file a claim against franchise operators who force businesses to open on the day of rest.

The Israeli Merchants' Association welcomed the approval of the bill. "This is an important first step to saving tens of thousands of small businesses from economic collapse," it said.

"There is an end to the phenomenon of 'Israebluff' where tycoons and retail chains are breaking the law, opening their businesses on Saturdays, and require employees to work then."