Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bus Revolution

Word around town is that there has been some current talk of the possibility of the buses in Tel Aviv running on Shabbat. In most major cities, the buses and public transportation shut down as soon as the sun goes down on Friday evening and then for one full day until Shabbat ends, there are no running buses on the streets. Kind of kills the idea of getting away on your free day. It sort of leaves you stranded unless you have a car, which the majority of people really don't have (it's sort of like New York in the sense that sometimes it's more complicated to have a car).

Now, in cities like Haifa, the bill has been cleared so that buses and public transportation currently do run on Shabbat. It's amazing. If you ever head up there for the weekend, you can actually get around. And places are actually open. The religious people get to stay indoors and participate in their practices and then the secular people do not have to suffer at their sake. It seems it should be this way in every major city in Israel, but it's not.

Doubtful that I'd ever live to see the day that buses ran on Shabbat in Jerusalem. It just seems antithetical to the notion of living in a holy city. But, to tell you the truth, for as many religious pockets there are in Jerusalem, there are also that many secular neighborhoods. And because they blockade off their neighborhoods to cars every Shabbat, the buses wouldn't even have to pass through there, they could take another route. So, in theory, it would really be nice if the secular half of the population had transportation options on the weekend.

From the looks of it, Tel Aviv might soon be adopting Haifa's ways and steering away from the the transportation blockade on the Sabbath. From my point of view, why should the secular people suffer due to the traditions of the religious. And besides, let's be honest, Tel Aviv is a hip, young and happening city that is largely populated by secular people. So, doesn't it make sense to let them have rides on the weekends? While many religious folk would provide a passionate argument about why it's not right, I have to say that my viewpoint sides with the secular. 



As this debate heats up, it will be really interesting to see what happens. You have to realize that Israel is still in its first 100 years of establishment, so there's bound to be several changes that happen over the years as the people gain power and a voice to speak up about what they want.


  1. And, to your idea of public transportation on Shabbat, I say, "amen".

  2. Hi Erin, I know this isn't related to the actual post content.. but could you please tell me where the photo of the white beach lounges looking over the beach was taken above? Do you know what hotel/town this was in? Love your blog! Reading each post for inspiration/information before my exchange there next spring :)


    1. Hi Jessica, I wish I could remember the name of the hotel, but the picture you are referring to is looking out over the Tel Aviv marina right along the most popular strip of beachfront (near Gordon beach). You will find this area without even meaning to, it's the center of the beach scene. I have been a slacker with my blog since having a baby recently but you can find lots of great content on here. You'll have a great time here next Spring! Good choice for the best time of year to study here.


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