"The Sabbath and the Kibbutz"

From Israel National News:
Labor Court Ruling Bans Work on Sabbath on Kibbutzim
Wednesday, December 6, 2006 / 15 Kislev 5767

The National Labor Court chaired by Justice Elisheva Barak ruled Tuesday to forbid work on collective farms and settlements on the Jewish Sabbath.

Businesses at Kibbutz Tzora which were caught operating on the Sabbath claimed that Israel's Law of Work and Rest does not apply to them, since they are a collective farm. The decision barring businesses on kibbutzim from opening on Saturdays caused great anger in the Kibbutz Movement.

The Movement's heads Gavri Bargil and Ze'ev Shor said Wednesday that the court order will be a hard blow to thousands of small businesses in the periphery, and to the income of tens of thousands of workers including kibbutz members.

"Our Jewishness and our lifestyle are secular, and will not be determined by the silly criterion of working on Saturday," the two said.

Seeking to clarify the intention of the legislature in embodying the Sabbath in Israeli law in the State's founding year, Judge Amiram Rabinovitz, who sat on the panel, quoted extensively from early Zionist leaders regarding the special status of the Jewish Sabbath in Israel.

Amongst those whom he quoted was the well-known secular Zionist writer Achad Ha'am who said the following:
"One doesn't need to be a Zionist or an observant Jew to recognize the value of the Sabbath… One who feels in his heart a connection to Jewish national life in all generations, cannot possibly conceive of a reality for Israel without the 'Sabbath Queen.'"

Achad Ha'am further wrote: "It is not an exaggeration to say that more than the Jewish People kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath kept them. Were it not for the Sabbath which returned their souls and renewed their vitality each week, the tribulations of the weekdays would have dragged them down, until they reached the lowest level of materialism and ethical and moral turpitude. Therefore, one definitely not need be a Zionist in order to feel all the glory and historical holiness which hover over this 'good gift' [the Sabbath], and in order to rise up adamantly against those who detract from it."



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