The Justices sided with the state’s position that operating public transportation on Shabbat was “unnecessary.”

Photo credit: Channel 2 News

The Israeli Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a petition to operate public transportation on Shabbat, siding with the state’s position that such a move is “unnecessary.”

The petition was filed by several groups, including the Reform movement, the Free Israel movement, Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg and civilians. The Justices said they chose to dismiss it because the petitioners do not represent a specific company that seeks to operate public transportation.

The state argued that the prohibition of public transportation on Shabbat should remain in place based on a law stating that “the Minister of Transport must take Jewish tradition into consideration when it comes to the operation of vehicles on Shabbat.”

“License to operate on Shabbat can be granted in a few specific cases, but those are rare,” the state added.

The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court Photo credit: Yossi Zamir, Flash 90/Channel 2 News

Sagi Agmon, the head of an NGO called Hiddush, which in Hebrew stands for “religious freedom and quality,” said, “We regret the fact that the court accepted the Transport Ministry’s position and chose not to discuss our petition for technical reasons, despite understanding the vital need for public transportation on Shabbat for large portions of the Israeli public.”

“The ministry has proven once again that it is willing to sacrifice the needs of the majority when put under pressure from the ultra-Orthodox politicians,” Agmon added.

A poll conducted by Hiddush in August found that 73% of the Jewish population in Israel support the operation of public transportation on Shabbat.