Finance Minister Yair Lapid was condemned by chareidi MK’s Sunday for gratuitous chillul Shabbos, calling reporters and cameramen to a minute and a half-long press conference in Tel Aviv for a non-urgent budget-related matter.
MK Rabbi Yaakov Litzman (UTJ) denounced Lapid for breaking with accepted practice for government officials refraining from conducting business publicly on Shabbos.
Rabbi Litzman said further that the finance minister’s behavior shows a lack of basic values, and he called for Lapid “to apologize for his disrespect for the values of the Jewish people.”
Shas leader Arye Deri said that “Lapid’s disrespect for the basic Jewish values of the state of Israel, which sanctifies Shabbos as its official day of rest, is unacceptable and stands out when he calls up media staff in the middle of the day of rest for non-urgent matters that could be postponed to another day.”
Rabbi Yisrael Eichler (UTJ) said the incident demonstrates the need for a law to prohibit officials from conducting business on Shabbos, using the taxpayers money to do it.
The denunciations were not limited to chareidi leaders.
“While you were enjoying your Shabbos, Lapid decided to pull all the economic journalists out of their homes in the middle of [the day] and order them to his driveway in Tel Aviv to hear him read an unimportant message in which he praised Israel’s credit rating by S&P,” Zahava Gal-On wrote in a rare expression of support for Shabbos observance.
The Meretz leader accused Lapid of holding the briefing on Shabbos because he knew the Prime Minister’s Office could not respond on Shabbos and the finance minister would get half a day of headlines, “a media advantage in his idiotic battle with the prime minister on who is the ‘winner’ in the war on the terrible budget they’re preparing for us,” Gal-On wrote.
Gal-On noted that Lapid’s press conference was a minute and a half, “but that certainly is enough to ruin the Shabbos of photographers and reporters who had to go hear what the honorable finance minister had to say… [and] shows a lack of consideration [by Lapid] toward those reporters who had to hear what he said on Shabbos afternoon instead of playing with their children or just resting.”