Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai denied that there has been a change in city policy to ban tefillin-laying booths in the city’s public space.
“In recent days, a false discourse has become prevalent on social media – what is called, Fake News – as if the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality has banned tefillin in the public domain. Not only is this not true – the truth is the complete opposite,” Huldai wrote in a Facebook post Sunday morning.
“Here are the facts: There are quite a few stalls scattered around the city, as well as booths of political parties and organizations promoting a variety of causes. Everyone works with the authorities, because that’s what it happens in a democratic society – everyone is allowed to express his or her own ideas and beliefs in the public sphere.
“We have only one reservation, and it has been in existence for many years: All of the booths can stand in the public space – as long as they are located at least 100 meters from an educational institution. And why? To allow our children a space that is free from these effects when entering and leaving school. As mentioned, this is not a new guideline, but a rule that we set years ago – and as stated above, applies to EVERYONE,” he explained.
“So there is no new ban and no new guidelines. What is it? It is the election period, in which every tweet gets comments and every piece of news gets a headline. That’s it.
“And another thing, and it is perhaps most important – personally, I think it is most important that every boy and girl know their heritage regardless of whether they are religious or not. And that includes knowing the prayers, holidays, rituals – and tefillin. But it has to be conducted according to an orderly plan – as we do in the city’s schools.”