Likudiada to go on despite local dismay

“Only God can stop an event as big as this.”

A view of the Eilat Mountains and the Red Sea (photo credit: MINISTRY OF TOURISM)
A view of the Eilat Mountains and the Red Sea
(photo credit: MINISTRY OF TOURISM)
Organizers of the upcoming weekend’s Likudiada in Eilat said the event would proceed as planned, despite the proposed “mini-markets bill” that would limit commerce in the city on Shabbat.
Eilat Mayor Meir Yitzhak Halevi, a member of Likud, has come out strongly against the bill, saying it would cause severe damage to his city’s tourism-based economy.
He said the legislation “cast a shadow” over the party’s event.
More than 4,000 Likud activists and more than half of the faction’s members are expected to attend, including Yehudah Glick – who just finished the shiva mourning period for his wife – and former interior ministers Gideon Sa’ar and Eli Yishai.
“Only God can stop an event as big as this,” said Moshe Passal, who organized the event for the third year in a row with fellow Likud activist Moshe Ben-Zaken. “The mini-markets bill definitely cannot bring down the biggest political event in Israel.”
Passal said the Likudiada helps supports Eilat and Israel’s periphery. The event itself officially observes Shabbat, not allowing cameras and using special Shabbat-friendly microphones from the Zomet Institute, which consults on Jewish religious law and technological issues.
“But of course people can go to the mall and I won’t prevent them,” Passal said. “This is a private event for private citizens. We aren’t responsible for the bill.”
Halevy said all the Likud central committee members in Eilat, himself among them, signed a petition against the bill. He said the legislation would harm nearly three million tourists who come to the city from dozens of countries every year.
“This bill is harmful, but what was open on Shabbat will remain open,” Halevy said.