This week the subject of whether or not to allow public transport in Tel Aviv on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, again came up on the public agenda. To illustrate the argument on this subject, which has been ongoing for many years,the Israel State Archives is publishing two placards from different periods, showing two very different points of view.
The placards were found in the private archives of David Zvi Pinkas in the Israel State Archives. Pinkas was a government minister and member of parliament (Knesset) representing the Mizrachi (religious Zionist) party.
The first placard is from 1933 and was issued by the first mayor of Tel Aviv, Meir Dizengoff. He calls on the citizens of Tel Aviv to refrain from Sabbath breaking in public, including a ban on public transport on Saturdays. It should be mentioned that at this time public observance of the Sabbath was widely accepted among the Jewish residents of Palestine and his attitude was not an unusual one.
The second placard was published in 1952, when David Zvi Pinkas was minister of transport, in reaction to his decision to ban the use of private vehicles on the Sabbath. In order to save fuel at a time of economic austerity, Pinkas had decided to ban the use of private cars twice a week (on the Sabbath and one other day). A body calling itself "The Action Committee To Halt the Sabbath Edicts" opposed his decision, seeing it as religious coercion. They called for the lifting of the restrictions and the operation of public transport on Saturday, and invited the public to take part in a demonstration on 5 July 1952, which was a Sabbath.
See the placards on our Hebrew website