The political rumpus over works by Israel Railways on Saturday is building up steam. Haredi MKs Yaakov Litzman and Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) and Aryeh Deri (Shas) met for consultation after the end of the Sabbath on Saturday night and decided to demand an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Channel 2 News reports. A source close to one of them said, "A demand that Minister of Transport Yisrael Katz should be fired is on the agenda."
"The heads of the haredi parties sorrowfully protest against the unnecessary desecration of the Sabbath with the railway works in Tel Aviv," a joint statement said, "This is a breach of prior assurances given by Minister of Transport Yisrael Katz and a blow to the status quo on religion and state. We find unfortunate the extensive and otiose media jamboree surrounding the works, that included a press conference and press releases, which unnecessarily aggravated the desecration of the Sabbath."
In an interview with Galei Tzahal (UDF Radio) this morning, Katz said that the works on Saturday were essential and were in accordance with the Law on Hours of Work and Rest in Israel. "I recommend those calling for my dismissal to look at the law because they are apparently not versed in it. The law allows works on Saturday if they are connected to development of vital infrastructure, and that was the case here. The professional opinion of the Israel Police was that carrying out the works on a weekday would endanger human life and cause heavy damage. The Law on Hours of Work and Rest is a very clear law, and it authorizes the Minister of Labor to make decisions of this kind. Such things happen and will continue to happen as long as the law is not changed. I advise politicians to interfere less in day-to-day management."
The works in question were on expansion of the Hashalom railway station in Tel Aviv, and required the adjacent Ayalon highway, Tel Aviv and the region's main traffic artery, to be closed to traffic.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 28, 2016
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