Public transportation on Shabbat is not an essential need for Israelis, the state told the High Court of Justice on Tuesday, responding to a petition seeking much more public transportation on the Sabbath.

Current law sharply curtails public transportation on the Sabbath and holidays, and the government must interpret a provision “to the extent possible” based on Jewish tradition. The state said a Sabbath license for public transportation was therefore “exceptional and should be interpreted in a restricted manner.”

The law, however, does allow licenses for Sabbath transportation serving hospitals, remote areas, towns and villages whose residents are not Jewish, and anything considered essential to public safety.