pool
pool Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

A tender for the establishment of an 'Urban Country Club' in the city of Harish which would be open on Shabbat was closed after no entrepreneurs submitted bids for the tender.

According to Lidor Shaked's report on the 'Harish City' website, only two entrepreneurs were interested in the details of the tender and purchased the tender brochure, but neither submitted an offer for the tender itself.

The tender was for the construction of a municipal pool in Harish, which would also have included a gym, sauna, jacuzzi and a variety of facilities for city residents.

One of the conditions in the tender was to operate the facility on Shabbat as well. "The operator will operate the club for 7 days a week," the tender conditions state. "The minimum hours of operation are - midweek from 6:00 to 23:00, Fridays from 6:00 to 18:00 (summer time) 6:00 to 16:00 (winter time), holiday eves - until 3 Hours before the opening of the holiday, on Saturdays and holidays between the hours of 7:00 and 19:00."

The municipality reserved the right to approve the closing of the country club on Shabbat, but under the terms of the tender the operator had to agree to operate the place on Shabbat as well.

The condition that the operators be prepared to open the facilities on Shabbat provoked opposition from rabbis in the city of Harish and residents of the city.

A public letter written by rabbis in Harish reads: "The public observance of Shabbat in Harish is one of the most important foundations of our growing city, it is our right and it is the responsibility of all of us. The vast majority of the city's residents know and feel this and hope that Harish will observe Shabbat in all its public spaces. We are called to act all the time in order to strengthen the observance of the Shabbat in the public space of our city, and to demand the honor of the Shabbat be maintained in Harish."

"Establishing a country club that will be officially declared open on Shabbat and Jewish holidays is a serious blow to the beating heart of our city - the sanctity of the public Shabbat in Harish. A new city that is being established and developing in the Land of Israel deserves that its public Shabbat service match the spirit of Israel."

"We call on the city council to withdraw its intention to lend a hand to the opening of the Country Club on Shabbat and to work for the observance of Shabbat in all our public spaces," they wrote. "We call on the general public to make their intentions clear to the city's financiers, because they will not want to use a place that will engrave on their flag the trampling of the sanctity of the Shabbat in our city. Harish is worthy, a great city in Israel, in which the sanctity of the Shabbat must be recognized and felt."