Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat gave instructions Friday to void a $124 (450 NIS) fine slapped on a Lubavitcher who encouraged people to lay tefillin (phylacteries) near the Jerusalem Bus Station.
The Chasid has been operating the tefillin stand at the same location for four years, without incident. However, a municipal inspector showed up today and told him to fold his stand and to pay the fine.
“The city of Jerusalem views with appreciation the activity of the Chabad movement in the city and throughout Israel, with the purpose of advancing the love of Israel, and bringing hearts together,” said Mayor Barkat in his announcement.
“The Municipality has excellent cooperation with Chabad’s representatives and activists and we note that Chabad’s people generally take steps to receive the necessary approvals required by law, in order to set up structures and stands on the street.”
“In this case, complaints reached the municipal inspection department, regarding an illegal stand”, explained Barkat. “Regrettably, despite requests from the municipality and the issuance of warnings in advance, the stand owner refused to do what he was required to do in order to receive the legal permission, and even went on to add a canopy to the stand, as well unauthorized signs.”
The Municipality intends to tell the stand operator that the penalty he was slapped with has been canceled. He will also be asked to tie all loose ends regarding the legality of the stand’s operation.