Opening Kibbutz Stores on Shabbat
years, kibbutzim have opened stores and even shopping centers that operate on Saturday,
drawing large numbers of shoppers from across the country. For many secularists, shopping
at kibbutz-operated stores is the way to get around the closure of stores closer to home
on the Sabbath. That, in turn, has spurred Orthodox efforts to have the stores found in
violation of labor laws requiring businesses to close for a day of rest, with the day set
in accordance with religious identity (thus Jewish-owned stores close on Saturday, Muslim
stores on Friday, etc.).
But at the beginning of December, a Labor court judge ruled that kibbutz stores are not
obligated by the laws that prohibit most businesses from opening on Saturday, since they
are cooperatives rather than individuals, and so do not have a religious identity.
Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein announced that he will appeal the decision, while
Labor and Social Affairs Minister Eli Yishai (like Suissa, from the ultra-Orthodox Shas
Party) said he would introduce legislation that would prevent kibbutz enterprises from
opening on the Sabbath.
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