Oct 27, 2021

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As many as 92 percent of business owners in Israel are not interested in keeping their shops open on Shabbat, and 98 percent  stated that they are not asked by their customers to stay open on the Jewish day of rest, according to a new survey released by Israeli business information group CofaceBdi.

The survey covered 135 Israeli businesses spread countrywide, and clearly showed a reluctance on the part of business owners to work on Shabbat, despite calls from secular Israelis to designate Shabbat as a vibrant shopping day.

While only 8 percent of business owners said they would like to stay open on Shabbat, almost all the respondents, 98 percent, said they are not receiving requests from their customers to make their shops available on Shabbat. A mere 2 percent, about 3 shops, reported hearing from customers that they’d like to shop there on Shabbat.

Interestingly, only 21 percent of respondents said they would see a rise in their daily income should they stay open on Shabbat. 32 percent expected their Shabbat income to match their regular days’ yield, and 47 percent expected to take in less on Shabbat.

The vast majority of respondents said staying closed or open on Shabbat should be left to them to decide, while 19 percent preferred that the decision be enforced by the authorities.

All of that having been established, 51 percent of business owners, who mostly don’t want to work on Shabbat, said there should be countrywide public transportation on Shabbat — 49 percent said there shouldn’t be.

CofaceBdi Co-CEO Tehila Yanai told Ynet that the majority of business owners said they just needed a day off. Others said the kind of traffic that they’d get isn’t worth staying open. A few said they were religious.