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| UPDATED: City Council voted to Close First Station on Shabbat. Here's what's next.

Zev Stub    
Thursday, 17 May 12:41 PM

Jerusalem's City Council voted 15-10 last night not to allow First Station restaurants and entertainment spots to remain open on Shabbat.

Several of the city's 31 city council members did not attend the vote, due to recognized conflicts of interest.  Mayoral candidate Moshe Lion also did not attend, likely because a vote in either direction would have hurt him with one of the voting constituencies he is trying to win.  

So what now? Following the vote, Mayor Nir Barkat told  Hebrew new site Kol Ha'Ir that that "contrary to the impression that interested parties are trying to create, the issue is not just decided by the city council, but by the regional committee of the Finance Ministry,  Mayor Nir Barkat, who built First Station during his tenure, is convinced that after the planning process, there will be no change in the activity of the station compound, and it will continue exactly as it is today according to the status quo and the law."

UPDATE: 4pm: The Finance Committee meeting today decided to postpone a decision on the issue to a later date, and wait for the recommendations of the city engineer. Those recommendations are expected by the end of May, after which there will be an additional meeting to discuss the conclusions. 

In any case, the First Station will remain open until at least March 2019. Barkat and other members of the city council have said they expect that the status quo will not change.  

Members of the Yerushalmim and Hitorerut Parties were protesting before the vote was held, but were unable to change the result. As Jerusalem enters a tense election season, it will be interesting to see what this vote reveals about the different parties and their strengths. 


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