Many years ago, an ATA (an Israeli textile firm) employee
turned to his friend, a religious engineer, and told him that
the factory did its maintenance work on Shabbos. The pretext
was that because the factory was inactive on Shabbos, the
machines could be fixed without interfering with the
production process. The engineer did not do maintenance and
did not work on Shabbos, but it bothered him that his
livelihood was dependant on chillul Shabbos.
This engineer gathered a group of shomrei Shabbos
engineers and discussed the topic. After much deliberation,
they asked the owner of ATA, then Mr. Hans Muller, to re-
examine the issue of doing maintenance on Shabbos. Mr. Muller
The group visited the factory, analyzed the situation and
proposed a maintenance plan based on preventive care while
the factory was in operation and closing it down for small
periods in the course of the work week.
Mr. Muller was impressed. A calculation of costs showed that
the plan was practical and economical. A significant factor
in cutting costs was the fact that maintenance workers
received two days vacation for working on Shabbos in addition
to a higher salary for working overtime. An additional
component was better supervision of the workers; the managers
were only there during the week.
Muller decided to implement the plan. The maintenance workers
announced a strike, and the rest of the workers followed as
well, due to "worsening of work conditions."
The transportation specialists of the Roads Authority and the
police, enriched us with a street system that is nothing more
than a trap that is constantly and periodically blocked by
some overturned vehicle. After receiving a well-placed hint
from someone, they were able to present their educated
opinion that there is dire danger in blocking the roads to
the hospitals, G-d forbid. I myself, as well as thousands of
others, were trapped for five to six hours in Tel Aviv due to
the Peace Convention conducted in Rabin Square. Then, those
experts did not present their educated opinion nor speak
about the danger, the hospitals or the inconvenience.
Incidentally, the cost of transporting the turbine parts
alone is about a million dollars. Who planned its production
and transportation anyhow? A wiser engineer would have saved
hundreds of thousands of dollars by not requiring such
unusual -- and expensive -- transportation arrangements. I
would not be surprised if the police and the Road Authority
want the transport on Shabbos to reward police and extra
workers with extra payment for overtime.
The judicial celebration also begs explanation. In one of its
totalitarian rulings, the High Court of Justice (perhaps High
Court of Totalitarians is more appropriate) ruled that an
officer or government worker cannot represent himself in
court. The only ones permitted to do so are the government's
legal advisers or attorneys. It has thereby become accepted
that if the attorneys themselves have a particular political-
social stance, they are free to present it to the High Court
even against the will of the defendant.
It is interesting that these collective ideas are called
"justice." What justice is there in sealing mouths? What
happened to freedom of speech, human rights and all the
The lawyers chose the police's exclusive opinion, and the
circle was closed. The High Court refused to hear any other
argument, and any other opinion was immediately quashed. The
path was paved and the steamroller advanced steadily towards
the outlook of the lawyers and judicial body.
And then came the sign! The "defenders" of the law burst out
in song and dance on the roof tops and streets, flooding the
media, telling us about the supremacy of the law and
"justice," which is merely the crookedness of individual
It is told about Ben Gurion that when a certain settlement
was being planned, a professional raised doubts about the
desirability of some agricultural treatment. Ben Gurion said,
"What's the problem? Just get a different professional!"
I propose to carefully scrutinize the expertise and
professional decisions of the police and lawyers.