Hundreds of people came yesterday to the Henri’s branch at Sharona Market in central Tel Aviv, in order to demonstrate their support for owner Ofer Leiferman who was fined by the management of the mall for closing his store on Shabbat. The protest came after media reports that Leiferman would be fined 3500 shekels (900$) every week just for keeping Shabbat, since the management demanded that the store, like most of the other stores in the mall, should be open on Shabbat.
The publication of the affair has caused ripples elsewhere: MK Moshe Gafni (Yahadut HaTorah) asked Attorney General Weinstein to investigate the matter and businessman Yaakov Halperin announced that he would pay the fine for Leiferman in order to give honor to the Shabbat. In response to the furor raised by the publicity, the management of Sharona Market agreed to waive the fines against Leiferman, but will initiate legal proceedings against him for broach of agreement.
Many people, both religious and non-religious, came yesterday to Leiferman’s branch of Henri’s in order to express their support for him. They also protested the impossible situation whereby a Jew, living in a Jewish state, should have to desecrate the Shabbat or pay a fine.
Leiferman was moved by the gesture and published the following response: “Dear friends, I want to say thank you! I feel a great merit to have become acquainted with you, and I was happy that from all this struggle something very sweet emerged. I don’t mean the cancellation of the fine, I mean that a met people who are more precious than gold! Thanks again, and I hope we will now only hear good news.”