In his words describing anger among chareidi elected officials pertaining to Chilul Shabbos on Ayalon Highway work, Transportation Minister (Likud) Yisrael Katz last week called it “an artificial crisis”, playing down chareidi anger. This was days before workers would once again be mechalel Shabbos working on the highway project.
The chareidim insist the work was not pikuach nefesh and therefore, it could have been done during the week.
The work in question was on the Ayalon in the southbound direction between Rokeach Interchange and Arlozoroff Interchange from Friday night at 11:00PM until 4:00PM on Shabbos day.
The chareidi elected officials are becoming increasingly audible in their protest, beginning to hint at a coalition crisis. The daily Hamodia reports that Health Minister Yaakov Litzman turned to Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz to point out the severity of the incident. He instructed him to intervene to prevent future Chilul Shabbos, which Litzman pointed out is not pikuach nefesh and therefore unjustifiable on Shabbos.
MK Moshe Gafne also commented, explaining he has been informed by the Minister of Labor the workers were non-Jews and only the minimum work was done however, he does not find this to be an acceptable situation. MK Uri Maklev added that the policy is such because Shabbos is not perceived as paramount but as secondary. Maklev feels that when repairs and maintenance is planned, kedushas Shabbos must be considered in advance.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)