The Yisrael Beitenu party is furious with Interior Minister (Shas) Aryeh Deri for his enforcement of the Shabbos Supermarket Law, which compels local municipalities and cities to shut convenience stores on Shabbos and Yomim Tovim. The party is calling to have Deri brought before a hearing of the Interior Committee, insisting he “exploits and abuses his authority to advance his own personal hashkafa”.
Deri, in his position as Interior Minister, is using the new law to prevent the opening of stores on Shabbos, BeChadrei Chareidim is reporting. Last week, Deri informed Eilat City Hall that he rejects the city’s request to permit opening grocery stores on Shabbos, and Yisrael Beitenu party officials are furious over the new policy enforcement, demanding that Deri be compelled to explain his actions before members of the Knesset Interior Committee.
MK (Yisrael Beitenu) Oded Forer on Sunday, 7 Tishrei, turned to the chairman of the Knesset committee, Likud MK Yoav Kisch, asking him in a letter to convene the committee in this urgent matter and to summon Deri to attend.
Forer writes, “Maintaining the [religious] status quo and the free fabric of life in the State of Israel are important cornerstones of the state and in the coalition agreements. Preserving Israel’s tradition alongside cultural and commercial life is the correct mix for all populations.
“Closing the businesses that have been open for many years in the city of Eilat, Israel’s tourism capital, will be a severe blow to a city where many of its residents make their living from tourism is scandalous, while exploiting its authority to abuse its views on a public that has decided democratically to act differently.”
Forer adds, “The results of the enforcement against businesses operating on Shabbos and their closure will lead to the flight of tourists and cumulative economic damage which will be difficult to rectify.”
In recent months, the Minister of the Interior, through the Director-General of the Ministry of the Interior, has informed several mayors who wish to open supermarkets and grocery stores on Shabbos that he refuses to approve this, following the Supermarket Law passed last year in the Knesset, including Rishon L’Tzion, Modi’in and Herzliya.
At the end of the week, the Interior Ministry also informed the Eilat Municipality that their request had been rejected, despite the demand by Likud elements that they wished to exclude the city of Eilat during the drafting of the law last winter.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)