The dispute in Knesset surrounding Israel Railways’ Chilul Shabbos appears far from over as the Supreme Court has also become involved.
The chareidi parties, namely Shas and Yahadut Hatorah, have informed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that as per coalition agreements, they are unwilling to tolerate continued weekly chilul Shabbos by Israel Railways for the purpose of upgrading and maintenance.
After a meeting between chareidi representatives and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu earlier this week, Mr. Netanyahu ordered a halt to the chilul Shabbos, thereby bringing an end to the conflict, or at least he believed this to be the case.
Angered by the Prime Minister’s decision, Meretz party leader MK Zahava Gal-On challenged the Prime Minister’s decision in the High Court of Justice. The court on Tuesday 3 Elul ruled that Mr. Netanyahu exceeded his authority when ordering Israel Railways’ to halt the Shabbos work. The court ruled the weekly chilul Shabbos would continue in the coming weeks as planned, and the only one with the authority to halt it is Minister of Labor (Likud) Chaim Katz.
In the state’s response to the petition it informed the court that Israel Railways’ was given a special dispensation to carry out the work on Shabbos during September amid the realization doing it during weekdays would be extremely costly and leave tens of thousands of riders stranded during the nights.
The court’s ruling is in effect at least until the next hearing on the matter, leaving Gal-On with a victory in hand against the coalition, Prime Minister and the chareidi parties.
The court has ordered another hearing in the hope of receiving an explanation to the illegal decision made by Mr. Netanyahu.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)