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Several public and private travel guides, such as The Rough Guide to Jerusalem and the British government's travel advisory for Israel, warn against driving in Jerusalem on Shabbat, as residents of certain neighbourhoods may stone the car.

I know that driving on Shabbat is generally prohibited by the orthodox Judaism practised in these neighbourhoods. But what is the halachic or rabbinical basis, if any, for their stoning cars to enforce this prohibition? If there is such a basis, is it permitted to throw stones even at cars driven by gentiles (who are presumably the primary target audience of the above-mentioned travel guides)? Or must one first ascertain that the car is being driven by a Jew, and that the driving is not being done due to a life-threatening emergency?

  • Well, we can start with Chillul Shabbos and continue with Muktzeh... Don't have time ATM to expand to a full answer. – DonielF Aug 16 '16 at 12:23
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It is obviously forbidden to throw stones at anyone/ a car on Shabbat or any other day of the week. Even if someone was sure without a shadow of doubt that the driver was not either 1. a gentile or 2. a Jew who is allowed to drive to save a life, it is still not allowed for him to take the matter into his own hands, and endanger others. That is only for a Sanhedrin (which doesn't exist today).

Even if the stones were set aside for this purpose for Shabbat, they would only change their status if throwing stones was allowed on Shabbat (since they have to be set aside for a permitted purpose like playing hopscotch or five stones or as a doorstop).

See here.

I have lived in various areas of Jerusalem and other chareidi areas in EY and have never seen anyone throwing stones. If anyone does it, it is probably someone bored just like a hooligan in any society.

I have heard in the name of a great rabbi that if we see chilul Shabbos (desecration of Shabbos) we should say "Shabbos" to ourselves, to remind ourselves of its sanctity.

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There is no halachic basis. For a number of reasons:

  1. The stones would almost definitely be mukstah [forbidden to handle on Shabboth].

  2. Stoning as a death-sentence was only carried out by a Beis Din, if the perpetrator had been observed and warned previously by 2 witnesses, and continued to knowingly desecrate the shabboth, fully aware of what he was doing. Today, that is no longer applicable.

  3. Moreover, that was done on a weekday.

Hence, stoning is not allowed. On a personal note, I have never observed it despite having lived many years in Jerusalem.

  • 1
    Actually Spotted by a friend of mine: People in Me'ah She'arim designating rocks before Shabbat for this purpose. – ephraim helfgot Aug 16 '16 at 11:16
  • Presumably they're not trying to stone the person to death... just to encourage the person not to drive on Shabbos. If the stones are designated for this purpose on shabbos, the muktzeh prohibition falls away. – Daniel Aug 16 '16 at 18:40
  • @ephraimhelfgot I don't really believe that. Your friend probably misunderstood something or is making things up for effect. – Double AA Aug 16 '16 at 21:09

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protected by Double AA Aug 14 '16 at 2:59

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