Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai is pushing for light rail train service during the Sabbath, a move which would upend Israel’s decades-old status quo on public transportation during the Jewish holy day.
A decade after work began in 2011, the Tel Aviv metropolitan area’s first light rail train line held its first test run last Thursday, with test runs in neighboring Bat Yam set to begin next month, and public service tentatively slated to start in November 2022.
With the train system’s opening a year away, Huldai is already pushing for the rail line to operate on Shabbat.
Speaking with Yediot Aharonot in an interview published Tuesday morning, Huldai compared the light rail system to Shabbat elevators, arguing that the same leniency applied in Jewish law to automated lifts could be applied to the light rail.
“This is an 18 billion shekel project, obviously we need to allow passengers to use it every day of the week. There is no question that it is vital.”
It is “like a horizontal Shabbat elevator,” Huldai continued, “which stops at every station.”