The High Court last Friday prevented the transport of a 250-
ton turbine part to Ashkelon over Shabbos by rejecting the
Friedenson Transport Company's request for an interim
injunction to maintain what it called the status quo until
the court hears its petition against the attorney-general,
the police and the minister of labor and social affairs.
According to its definition of the status quo, Friedenson
would have been allowed to transport a section of the turbine
from the TAAS-Israel Army Industries plant in Ramat Hasharon
to the new Rutenberg power station in Ashkelon on Friday
night and on Shabbos without Shabbos work permits, as it had
done the previous week. By that reasoning, if they had also
committed a theft last week they should receive court
sanction to do so again.
Friedenson submitted its petition only on Thursday, demanding
that Labor and Social Affairs Minister Eli Yishai grant
Shabbos work permits to Jewish employees involved in the
transport of the turbine the following day.
It also demanded that the police escort the transport even
without Shabbos work permits, and that the attorney-general
withdraw his directive to the police not to escort the
transport until its workers received Shabbos work permits.
In his written reply to the court Uzi Fogelman, head of the
High Court of Justice Petition Section in the State
Attorney's Office, said Yishai had received the Shabbos work
permit request from Friedenson only the previous day and
needed a week to consider it.
The judges criticized Friedenson attorney Yehiel Guttman for
taking so long to submit the request.
Guttman said he faxed an informal request for the Shabbos
work permits to Yishai's office on Thursday, August 12. The
Labor and Social Affairs Ministry sent Guttman an official
form the following Monday. Guttman mailed the form on
Wednesday and it was received on Thursday.
What seemed to tip the scales was the fact that Guttman could
not estimate the damages Friedenson would suffer from the
delay of the transport by a week. As a result, the judges
decided not to grant its request for an interim
The court scheduled the hearing for this Wednesday, ordering
Friedenson to add more details to its petition, including an
estimate of the damages caused by the transport delay, and
ordered the state to submit its full reply by Tuesday.
The police have given Friedenson a permit to transport the
turbine parts and ordered it to transport them only on Friday
night and Saturday.
Last week, State Attorney Edna Arbel warned the ministry that
if it refused to grant the Shabbos work permits to the
company, the State Attorney's Office would not be able to
defend it in court.