Finance Minister Yair Lapid announced on Thursday that he was in favor of operating public transportation on Shabbat in areas populated mainly by secular Israelis.
Under the current status quo, public transportation in the vast majority of Israeli cities stops at sundown on Friday, when the Jewish Sabbath begins, and resumes only after sundown on Saturday. According to Jewish law, it is forbidden to operate a vehicle on Shabbat.
Writing on his Facebook page, Lapid said that "I think that there needs to be public transportation on Shabbat. I said as much during my elections campaign, and now I am saying it again."
He stressed that he would support a plan under which public transportation would operate "not in religious areas, but in secular neighborhoods and towns, because this is not an issue of religion and state -- it is a simple social issue. There is no reason why a grandfather who has money can visit his grandchildren on Saturday because he can pay for a taxi, while a grandfather who does not have money cannot, because there is no bus that can take him."
Lapid also apologized for not being able to achieve this goal during his first three months in office. "Not everything can happen in three months. We will fight for this cause -- there will be wars that we can win and wars that we can't, but we will have to wait until we win this one," Lapid wrote.