Hiddush's Tent of the Stuck: Waiting for the bus on Shabbat
Hiddush and the youth forum "Bamah" joined together this past week to stage a protest in favor on public transportation on Saturday. The current lack of access impacts the most vulnerable of society: the disabled, the elderly, and those who cannot afford the alternatives.
Hiddush and others gather for ''The Tent of the Stuck'' to protest for public transporation on Shabbat, April 28, 2012
In the heart of Jerusalem this past Shabbat, dozens of protesters attended Saturday's "Tent of the Stuck" rallied in favor of public transportation on Shabbat. The event was cosponsored by Hiddush and a youth forum, "Bamah". Sitting at the bus station on Shlomtzion street, surrounded by popular bars and restaurants of Jerusalem, protesters spoke out about the need for public transportation to and from this area on Saturdays.
Banners and signs hung saying "Spring has come, but the bus hasn't" and "64 years of "Independence", but still waiting for the bus this weekend". One sign read "Citizens of Israel - You're endangering me!", referencing one of the crucial reasons for public transportation: drunk drivers. Without public transportation to travel to and from the city's center, many more drunk drivers take to the streets out of necessity. The protest organizers reminded the public of the shared taxi service that used to exist in Jerusalem, and called for its reinstatement.
The Ministery of Transportation encourages abandoning personal cars in favor of public transportation; but how can this happen when there is no available alternative on the weekend?
Hiddush's Vice President, Shahar Ilan, also reminds us that "the Minister of Transportation endangers young people on Shabbat. Those with means have a car and can get around; The lack of public transportation impacts the most vulnerable in society: those who cannot afford cars or taxis, the disabled and the elderly. The Israeli government refuses to act for these populations, rather favoring appeasement of ultra-Orthodox parties."
Tomer Cohen, coordinator of the activities with "Bamah" added "Today's protest has unequivocally shown that the free and pluralistic public, in Jerusalem and throughout Israel, will fight until we receive one of the most basic rights in a democratic country--the freedom of movement on the weekend. The Ministery of Transportation encourages abandoning personal cars in favor of public transportation; but how can this happen when there is no available alternative on the weekend?"
Tomer will enter the Israeli Defense Forces after he completes high school this year.