Bill Aims to Ban Ministers' Use of Government Cars on Shabbat

The attempt is a backlash against the prohibition of public transportation in most of Israel on the Sabbath.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, surrounded by ministers, at a cabinet meeting, August 31, 2014.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkowitz

A bill sponsored by MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) aims to ban ministers from using their government cars on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays if public transportation is not available to all Israelis on those days.

The bill will come up for a vote Sunday in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, where the ministers will decide whether to give the legislation government backing.

The bill stems partly from a clash on Facebook between the supporters of public transportation on Shabbat and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who opposes a change in the status quo on religious issues.

“In the existing reality today, when most places in Israel have no public transportation from Friday evening through Saturday night and on holidays, the residents of Israel who do not own their own cars are discriminated against unfairly,” the bill’s introduction states.

“Their right to freedom of movement is nullified for 24 hours every week without any reasonable explanation.”

Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

According to the bill, cabinet members should set an example by not using their government cars on the Sabbath and holidays, a move that would reduce inequality.

The bill would expire once public transportation operated on Shabbat and holidays.