Ministers Yaakov Litzman and Aryeh Deri along with MK Moshe Gafne have been pressuring Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to return the government’s Shabbos authority to Deri, who serves as Minister of the Interior. The moved was approved during the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, 2 Shevat.
One of Deri’s first moves is likely to disqualify a Tel Aviv City Council decision to permit opening a limited number of stores on Shabbos in non-frum areas. After receiving the authority, Deri announced he would study the matter in dept.
The big loser is Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and his Yisrael Beitenu party, which as recently as last month continued expressing its adamant opposition of placing the Shabbos authority exclusively in the hands of chareidim.
The ball is now in Deri’s court, who during recent months announced if given the authority, he will compel stores to shut their doors on Shabbos in Tel Aviv. Should Deri carry through, like everything else in the state, the next likely stop will be the High Court of Justice.
So what led to the cabinet decision? Last week, High Court President Justice Miriam Naor hinted that regarding a petition on behalf of stores seeking to open on Shabbos in Tel Aviv belongs to the Interior Minister and not the Prime Minister. Without a doubt Justice Noar’s words sent a clear message to PM Netanyahu.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)