No more free rides for haredim. That is the word from Israel’s Ministry of Transportation to the Egged public bus company, which has been giving haredim and free rides home from the Kotel (Western Wall) after the end of Shabbat for many years.
No More Free Haredi Bus Rides, Government Says
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
No more free rides for haredim.
That is the word from Israel’s Ministry of Transportation to the Egged public bus company, which has been giving haredim and others free rides home from the Kotel (Western Wall) after the end of Shabbat for many years, Yeshiva World reported.
The free rides – given because Orthodox Jews are forbidden under their understanding of Jewish law to carry money or bus cards on Shabbat – allow worshipers who walk to the Kotel from distant parts of the city and get back home after Shabbat ends.
Haredim and others who took those free rides were supposed to repay the fare later in the week by paying double for their next ride, but in practice, few did so.
Last year, Egged published an ad in haredi newspapers reminding haredim that they had to repay the bus company for the free Saturday night rides.
The ad drew sharp criticism from haredi politicians and activists, some of whom thought the haredi community was being scapegoated by Egged – even though the vast majority of free riders are haredim.
After almost a year of stalemate, the Ministry of Transportation has now stepped in to force Egged to stop doling out the free rides.
This drew criticism from haredi politicians.
Member of Knesset Rabbi Uri Maklev of the Ashkenazi haredi United Torah Judaism Party immediately asked Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz to reverse the decision and restore the free rides.
The state-funded haredi Chief Rabbi of the Kotel and Other Holy Sites Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz – who earlier this month went on a private outing on Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Day with his extended family to a zoo specially opened just for them, shocking many Israelis – expressed shock at the ministry’s decision to end the free rides, noting it came in the same week that Jerusalem Day, which celebrates the unification of the city in 1967 along with the liberation of the Kotel and the adjacent Temple Mount that came with it.
Egged Public Bus Company CEO: As Far As I’m Concerned, We’re A “Haredi Company” And As Such We Will Continue To Refuse To Post Ads Depicting Women, Girls, Men, Boys, Animals, Extinct Animals, Cartoon Figures And Space Aliens.