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Tel Aviv: No rush to enforce Sabbath rules

(HAARETZ) — Tel Aviv seems to be in no rush to begin strictly enforcing its own Sabbath closure regulations, and will likely ask for an extension on imposing the bylaw on businesses in the city that remain open between sunset Friday and sunset Saturday.

On June 25, in response to a petition by seven Tel Aviv grocers, the High Court of Justice ordered the municipality to decide between fully enforcing the rule or rescinding it. The court’s 60-day deadline is this weekend.

Enforcement of the regulation has been inconsistent, if profitable for the city: Some business owners say they are fined every week by municipal inspectors, at NIS 730 a pop, while others say they are only fined every few weeks. The setup has allowed city hall to maintain a mix of businesses that are open on Shabbat while profiting from the fines it does charge, but the court says the city cannot continue to have it both ways.