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Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Israelis protest Sabbath tramway work

By AFP
media Ultra-Orthodox Jews demonstrate against construction work on a tramway during the Sabbath, on the outskirts of the Israeli city of Bnei Brak near Tel Aviv on September 21, 2018 AFP

Several thousand ultra-orthodox Jewish Israelis demonstrated near the coastal city of Tel Aviv on Friday against construction work on a tramway during the Jewish Sabbath.

Protesters gathered quietly in Bnei Brak, an ultra-religious city on the outskirts of Tel Aviv, Israel's commercial capital, an AFP journalist said.

They were protesting against a court ruling this week which authorised the company building the tramway to work in the neighbourhood during the Sabbath.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews believe it is forbidden to work, drive or use electricity between dusk on Friday and dusk on Saturday.

Respect for the Sabbath -- a key issue for ultra-Orthodox parties which advocate a strict application of Jewish law -- has been a contentious issue within the government since its formation in 2015.

Around a fifth of deputies in Israel's ruling coalition, seen as the most right-wing administration in the country's history, come from the ultra-Orthodox Shas and United Tora Judaism parties.

 
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