While Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz confidently plays down the repeated Chilul Shabbos on Tel Aviv’s Ayalon Highway, chareidi parties in Knesset prefer to turn up the heat, insisting it could lead to a true coalition crisis.
Work on a section of the Ayalon has taken place on Friday night and Shabbos day in recent weeks, with Katz insisting there is no alternative, guaranteeing all of the construction workers are non-Jews.
According to a report in Hamodia, Health Minister Yaakov Litzman has spoken with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on the matter, threatening it could bring an end to the government coalition. Litzman is quoted telling the prime minister “Maintaining the Shabbos status quo is among the first items mentioned in coalition agreements but it appears “There are government offices that are turning Shabbos into a weekday”, referring to the Ministry of Transportation.
Mr. Netanyahu reportedly told Litzman he noted the issues at hand and he will address them with the appropriate agencies and persons.
In addition, Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush on Monday, 18 Sivan, had demanded an explanation for the Chilul Shabbos seen over the past three Shabbatot. In his HaMevaser newspaper, Porush attacks Katz for the ongoing Chilul Shabbos in addition to the ministry’s defiance of the Shabbos status quo elsewhere. He adds that beginning this Shabbos, the Ministry has permitted operating the 369 line from Tel Aviv to Beersheva. HaMevaser adds that this is in addition to the fact that this very same line has carried out 61 trips in both directions.
The chareidim are placing the blame on Katz, adding he along is responsible in his capacity as Minister of Transportation and he must act to prevent a coalition crisis or bear the outcome of his actions.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)