Interior Minister Deri seeks authority to cancel municipal bylaws, particularly in Tel Aviv, allowing the opening of businesses on Shabbat, while UTJ’s Gafni wants to amend Hours of Work and Rest Law to bar work on Shabbat completely.

The Likud Party is working on promoting two legislative initiatives concerning work on Shabbat in an apparent effort to prevent further escalation in the crisis with the Haredi parties in the wake of Health Minister Yaakov Litzman’s (United Torah Judaism) resignation.

The first bill proposal seeks to give the interior minister the authority to cancel municipal bylaws as part of Interior Minister Aryeh Deri’s (Shas) ongoing struggle against municipalities, primarily Tel Aviv, which allow the opening of convenience stores on the Jewish day of rest.

The second bill proposal, by MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ), is an amendment to the Hours of Work and Rest Law to bar work on Shabbat completely.

Train construction work done on Shabbat (Photo: Ofer Meir)
Train construction work done on Shabbat (Photo: Ofer Meir)


This proposal, which is already on the Knesset’s agenda, is titled “Consideration for Israel’s tradition.”

The 1951 Hours of Work and Rest Law forbids the employing of workers on the weekly day of rest. However, article 12 of the law determines the labor minister can permit the employing of a worker during the weekly hours of rest, or part of them, if he is convinced stopping the work might hurt national security or the safety of people or property, or cause considerable damage to the economy, the work process or to providing needs the labor minister deems to be vital to the public or part of it.

According to the bill proposal, the current wording of the law does not instruct the minister to take into consideration offense caused to the public or Israel’s tradition. The proposal therefore calls on the minister to consider these factors “as much as possible.”

Likud is planning to approve at least one of these proposals at the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday.

While the Likud Party is determined to promote these bills to prevent the Haredi parties from quitting the coalition, other members of the coalition—including the Yisrael Beytenu Party and even some of the Likud’s ministers—have raised objections.

As reported by Ynetnews