Opposition accuses Netanyahu of caving to Haredim

The uproar stemmed from Health Minister Ya'acov Litzman's resignation from the cabinet over construction on Shabbat.

November 26, 2017 12:41
1 minute read.
Police arrest a haredi man protesting against the drafting of ultra-Orthodox into the IDF, October 2

Police arrest a haredi man protesting against the drafting of ultra-Orthodox into the IDF, October 2017. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)


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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is giving in to Haredi interests to stay in power, rather than acting for the general good, several politicians in the opposition argued.

Zionist Union leader Avi Gabbay said “the Netanyahu government is at its end. Its culture isn’t dealing with what is good for the public, rather what is good for it. A government with such a corrupt culture can’t continue to function.”

“In a modern society, if we want the trains to work all week, we have to maintain them on Shabbat,” Gabbay told Army Radio. “When the whole government is spin, the Haredim can [create spin] too.”

The comments came as the premier took steps to prevent United Torah Judaism from destabilizing the coalition after Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman resigned from the cabinet over railway repairs on the sabbath.

Among those steps are promoting Haredi initiatives, such as a bill by UTJ MK Moshe Gafni to require the Labor Minister to consider religious sensitivities when authorizing work on Shabbat, which is expected to be approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation Sunday.

Yesh Atid MK Yael German lamented the “anomalous situation in which Litzman can veto any bill or action that the public needs is anti-democratic and sees only narrow, sectorial interests.”

German said the Haredim should have a place in the cabinet as part of the nation, but they cannot force their way of life on the general public.

“Whoever wants to sit in a democratic public cannot have veto power to strangle the government, and the threats to quit, which are given in to each time, make the public suffer,” German stated.

Zionist Union MK Itzik Shmuly said “Netanyahu wants to sell the public interest for cheap with more bizarre bills. This government has a split personality: On Friday, they don’t give in to Haredi ultimatums and on Sunday they want to anchor religious coercion in the law.”

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