Ron Huldai
Ron HuldaiIsrael news photo: Flash 90

A court may have ordered the city of Tel Aviv to enforce the law on Sabbath store openings, but Mayor Ron Huldai is planning a solution that will maintain the status quo.

Huldai spoke with city council members on Monday evening regarding the court order and plans for the future.

The city will abide by the order, he said, but added, “We will use our judgment and use enforcement in cases where there is some disturbance to public order.”

Ultimately, he continued, “our plan is to find the right way to entrench as law the balance we have here – a reality which the overwhelming majority of city residents are fine with.”

The High Court ordered the Tel Aviv municipality to take steps to enforce the law requiring store inside cities to close on the Sabbath.

Justice Elyakim Rubenstein referred to the city’s current methods of enforcement as a “bluff” that did not uphold the law in practice. While Tel Aviv may have an image as the “city that doesn’t stop,” he said, Tel Aviv is not in a different country, and must balance Jewish tradition with democracy like the rest of the country.

Small business owners had complained that the city’s current indifference to the law leaves them unable to compete with larger stores, which can afford to risk the fines that occasionally result from ignoring the law.

Last year the Tel Aviv City Council approved public transportation on the Sabbath. It also created a plan to close streets in the city center on the Sabbath.