Due to Rabbis' Pressure, Grocery Chain Closes Some Branches on Sabbath

Rabbinical committee ratches up dispute with Dor Alon, causing group to close some of its groceries.

Following severe pressure from religious groups in Israel, the AM:PM chain of grocery stores in Tel Aviv has decided to close some of its branches on Sabbath.

The decision is the latest in the ongoing dispute between a committee of rabbinical leaders and the Dor Alon group, which owns AM:PM as well as gas stations and the Blue Square and Shefa Shuk supermarkets.

Discussions between the rabbis and Dor Alon's controlling shareholder, David Wiessman, have been unsuccessful. As TheMarker reported last week, Shefa Shuk CEO Uri Kaminsky resigned after consulting with the rabbis.

This is not the first time the two rabbis - the Admor of Gur and Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv - have taken part in the ultra-Orthodox community's battles against the desecration of the Sabbath.

The most recent, widely publicized battle was in late 2006, when the two rabbis signed an agreement ordering the religious community not to fly with El Al because it operated on the Sabbath after the company assisted passengers stuck overseas because of a strike at Ben-Gurion Airport.