Sabbath and Jewish Holiday law

Nadav Eliash

In recent years the Knesset has seen a number of proposed laws, based on the Gavison-Medan Covenant, meant to regulate the status of the Sabbath in Israel. To date, no such law has been passed.

The covenant seeks to regulate matters of state and religion on the basis of consensus among religious and secular and includes a long section devoted to the Sabbath, concluding with an agreement based on limitation of trade and industry alongside the opening of entertainment, cultural, and leisure venues. The Covenant also calls for a limited amount of public transportation on the Sabbath.

This position paper presents the theoretical background behind the need for a law to regulate the status of the Sabbath in Israel.

The first section surveys the current legal and practical state of the Sabbath. It shows a problematic reality which allows divergence from the law-makers’ intentions and creates confusion and a lack of consensus between the religious and the secular.

Next, the urgency and import of regulating the matter will be presented.

The second section discusses with the social aspect of the Sabbath.

The third section focuses on the national-cultural aspect of the Sabbath.

The fourth section deals with legal issues which arise from restrictive laws about the Sabbath.

The fifth section expands the discussion while comparing the way other Western countries have dealt with legislating restrictive laws about days of rest.

Finally, the conclusion will once again stress the importance of the Sabbath in the context of Israeli cultural heritage.

to the full position paper (in Hebrew)

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