Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Aryeh Stern on Sunday expressed his “extreme disappointment” with the Jerusalem municipality – which operated snowplows on Shabbat in order to clear streets of the snow that had piled up Friday afternoon and evening.
Snow that fell Thursday was cleaned up overnight, and by Friday afternoon nearly all the streets were clear. Several periods of heavy snow blanketed some areas with more snow Friday night, but many of the roads were passable. Much of the snow had melted by Sunday morning, as commuters poured into the city.
In a letter to Mayor Nir Barkat, Rabbi Stern protested the use of the plows, which were contracted by the city to remove the snow. The action, he said, constituted “official violation of the Sabbath with the sponsorship of the city.
“Along with the selfless and helpful acts by municipal employees on the snow days – who ensured that there nearly all the streets of Jerusalem were passable – I was told that a number of snowplows moved snow on Shabbat,” wrote Rabbi Stern.
“I would appreciate an in-depth investigation into this matter. I would also appreciate your putting me in touch with the individuals responsible for this so that I can direct them on the proper way to deal with such a situation in the future,” he wrote.