‘Want to be observant? Not in our town!’

According to residents of Kfar Bilu, the town council refuses to install an eruv, a boundary that allows observant Jews to carry certain objects in public areas, and use strollers and canes, on Shabbat. The residents claim that the council fears a proliferation of religious residents.

Gal Taib, a disabled veteran and a resident of Kfar Bilu, is unable to leave his home on Saturdays due to the lack of an eruv. "I am confined to a wheelchair. I became observant several years ago and it bothers me that there is no eruv in our town, since I am in a wheelchair and I cannot leave the house without an eruv," he said.

In an interview with Kol Berama radio, Taib admitted that there are not many other observant residents in the community besides his family, but claimed that his needs should be considered. ''We turned to the local committee and they refuse to erect an eruv because they are afraid that observant Jews will move in and take over.”

Taib said that it will not entail any cost on behalf of the town’s committee. "I do not bother them with my religion, I even obtained a budget from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, so that the Council would not pay a single shekel. But they are refusing on principle.”

"They told us, 'You want to be religious? Not here. You chose to be observant so that is your problem.’ All I want is to be able to go out with my daughter to the garden beside my home [on Shabbat] but I cannot because there is a prohibition from the Torah," said Taib.

"Anything religious we want to do, there is an immediate resistance. For example, in the synagogue there is no mechitza (partition) between men and women, and they are not willing to install one. These people do not even attend the synagogue – so why does it bother them? They are not religious people yet they set the rules for us. They are hurting our freedom of religion.”

The Kfar Bilu town committee said that Taib's request was seriously considered and a team was established to examine the claim. The allegations of an anti-religious bias were denied by the committee. "For the record, it should be emphasized that the committee rejects the claims against us,” it said.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/213740

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