Light rail on Saturday “starting another year”? Marev Michaeli only deceives herself

On Saturday afternoon, in an interview with the program “Meet the Press” on Bequest 12, Minister of Transportation Merav Michaeli dropped her weekend bombshell: “I am happy to inform you that starting next year, the light rail in Tel Aviv and the surrounding area will also operate on Saturdays. This is my decision, I made it following all the meanings that were brought before me, and that’s how it’s going to be.” What can I say, joy and joy. We were dreamers. When Michali announced that she would look into the possibility of operating the KAL on Shabbat about a month ago, it sounded like an empty election promise, and here she goes Live on it. It’s just a shame that it’s still the same empty election promise.

Public transportation on Shabbat is an urgent urban and national need, 70 percent of the public supports it, and there is in fact no reasonable reason in the world for the light rail not to operate on the weekends and bring to an end the folly that prevents citizens without a private car the ability to get around on Fridays and Shabbat, at least in the most secular city in Israel. This is not a transportation issue (even if the move will have some effect on the important task in itself of getting private vehicles off the roads), but a clear public demand and a definite social issue. The transport minister has all the support she needs. She had the same spirit throughout the short term of the government of change. She chose to do nothing.

Now Michaeli can position herself as a fighter against religious coercion, for the weaker sections, for the benefit of the general public. This is very nice for the Labor Party’s anemic election campaign, but practically meaningless to the citizens on whose behalf it acts. Yes, Michali has the administrative authority to determine that this will be the case “starting in another year”, although it is not certain that her authority will stand the test of the High Court during a transitional government. The next Minister of Transportation – and Michali has already declared that she does not wish to continue in the position – will have the same authority to cancel her decision and determine That will never be the case. There is nothing that Minister Michaeli can do now that will ensure that the RCL will indeed operate on Shabbat. Her dramatic statement yesterday was empty of substance.

What is sad about this election promise is that Marev Michaeli is deceiving only herself. The decision to operate public transportation on Shabbat, or at least to establish metropolitan transportation authorities that would make such decisions for themselves, she should have promoted from the first moment of her position and even as a coalition condition. During her short term, she made several important moves in the Ministry of Transportation, but this particular omission will be hard to forgive: not only did she wake up too late on the issue of the HTAB on Shabbat with no real cards in her hands, Michaeli also apparently believes that she can underestimate the intelligence of her constituents. Such a critical choice may be one mistake too many.



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