Public transportation now available on Shabbat in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv will begin offering public transportation on Shabbat, JTA reported.

The city’s public transportation began running on Friday night and all day Saturday as of Nov. 22.

Called “We move on weekends,” there will be six routes, along with transportation to neighboring areas such as Ramat Hasharon, Givatayim and Kiryat Ono. The routes will attempt to avoid religious neighborhoods.

“The ability to move from place to place throughout the week is a fundamental right,” Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said.

To the north of Tel Aviv, Ramat Hasharon began a pilot Shabbat transportation program earlier this year and other cities are planning to do likewise.

Tel Aviv will pick up $2.6 million of the $3.6 million operating costs for the program’s first year.

IDF holds surprise drills in northern Israel

The Israel Defense Forces held a surprise military exercise in northern Israel that involved thousands of conscripted soldiers as well as reservists, The Times of Israel reported.

“The troops simulated the rapid turnover from everyday to emergency, from defense to attack; the processes of gathering troops and weapons; taking out equipment; and the movement of forces through the region,” the army said.

The two-day exercise, which was designed to test the military’s readiness for a sudden outbreak of war began in the Jezreel Valley and Upper Galilee in northern Israel. It was designed to specifically check for readiness against the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group and other Iranian proxies.

Israeli officials have said that Iran appears to be taking an increasingly aggressive approach in the Middle East.

University leaders critical of University of Toronto Student Union

Leaders of Israel’s seven universities aren’t happy that the University of Toronto’s Graduate Student Union equated a kosher food program with support for Israel, JTA reported.

“Just when we thought that we’d seen it all regarding the ascent of anti-Semitism masquerading as anti-Zionism on campus, the Graduate Student Union at the University of Toronto took this theater of the absurd to new heights by characterizing kosher food as ‘pro-Israel,’” Ron Robin, chairman of the Committee of University Heads of Israel and president of the University of Haifa, said in a statement.

A Jewish student at the Canadian university requested that the Graduate Student Union support the Kosher Forward Campaign, but an external commissioner of the union said that since Hillel is “pro-Israel,” support of the motion would go against the “will of the membership.”

The union later issued an apology for “unintentionally caus(ing) harm toward the Jewish community.”

Israeli cop indicted for shooting Palestinian

An Israeli Border Police officer was charged with assault and reckless use of a firearm for alleging shooting a Palestinian man in the back with a sponge-tipped bullet, JTA reported.

The Palestinian was shot in May 2018 while walking away from the unnamed policewoman at a West Bank checkpoint.

The Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigation Department said the officer shot the man “just for the fun of it.” She also was charged with obstruction of justice, as were two other officers.

Another police officer reportedly filmed the incident on a cell phone.

The policewoman was serving mandatory military service and was later transferred from the Border Police. JN

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