Rabbi Stern (left) and Rabbi Amar (right)
Rabbi Stern (left) and Rabbi Amar (right)Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Jerusalem's chief rabbis, Rabbi Aryeh Stern and Rabbi Shlomo Amar, penned a letter warning that allowing businesses to remain open on Shabbat blurs Israel's identity as a Jewish state.

"We see it fitting to support observing Shabbat, and right now, when unfortunately, there are breaches around the country and businesses, gas stations, and swimming pools run on Shabbat and engage in activities which desecrate Shabbat," the letter read.

"We wish to say that opening businesses on Shabbat causes great sadness and distress to portions of the population. And an additional bad thing is that it blurs and causes us to forget the State's Jewish character.

"We therefore ask them, as Jewish believers, the sons of believers, to change their ways for the better and thus protect the weekly vacation day, for the sake of buyers and sellers. And may G-d bless them.

"We also ask the public to encourage those who observe Shabbat and make every effort to do business and make purchases in a way that supports and encourages those who observe Shabbat with sacrifice and faith. They should not think that they lose out from closing on Shabbat, because Shabbat is a source of blessing, and from it comes plenty and sustenance for all of Israel.

"'And the Children of Israel observed the Shabbat throughout their generations, as an eternal treaty.' (Exodus 31:16 - ed.) And in the merit of Shabbat, may we merit a complete redemption. Amen."