Non-religious Jews may also rest on the Sabbath
The Labor and Social Affairs Committee approved my most recent bill for a first reading! This bill, which MK Dr Aliza Lavie proposed along with Miki Zohar (מיקי זוהר),will allow secular individuals to refuse to work on Shabbat, without the risk of having their employment terminated.
In the current state, an employer may request that an employee who wishes not to work on Shabbat, sign an affidavit explaining that he or she is religiously observant. This is inconsistent with the principle of religious freedom, and it contradicts the Equal Employment Opportunities Law, which states that it is illegal to discriminate against an employee because of religion. According to the proposed bill, any person (regardless of religion) can refuse to work on Shabbat, the weekly rest day, without fearing that he will be fired.
The fact that this bill was approved for a first reading is particularly exciting because it had previously been rejected in the Ministerial Committee of Legislation.
Why is this historic?
This bill recognizes that Shabbat is for the entire people of Israel, not just for religious people. Whether it is for religious, social, or other reasons, this proposal will enable any person to celebrate Shabbat how he or she wishes and to spend time with family and friends without having to be examined closely by an employer, without the fear of getting fired.
This proposal creates the necessary balance between freedom of religion and freedom of occupation, all while granting social benefits in the form of a weekly rest day. The approval of this bill is a result of the cooperation of the coalition and the opposition. This bill has gained support from representatives across the board, from Meretz to Shas.