A discussion that had been set for Sunday at the Knesset Finance Committee was canceled at the last minute by its chairman, United Torah Judaism MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni. No reason was given for the cancellation, but Israel Railway officials took it as a sign of displeasure by the chareidi MK against the railway’s recent chillul Shabbos scandal.
Railway officials were livid over the cancellation of the session, which was to discuss an NIS 645 million allocation for new rail projects. MK Rabbi Gafni “knocked out the item from the committee’s discussion list,” Channel Two quoted railway officials as saying. “If it turns out that he did this for political reasons – subordinating national interests to narrow political ones – we will consider that a great offense and act accordingly.”
As a member of UTJ, MK Rabbi Gafni, along with other chareidi and religious MKs, condemned Israel Railways for carrying out work on Shabbos that could have been conducted on a weekday. Railway officials quoted by Channel Two said that they saw the cancellation as a form of “revenge” for the Shabbos work.
In response, MK Rabbi Gafni said that he did not owe Israel Railways any explanations. “I am not obligated to consider each and every proposal someone brings up. I will consider their request and if I find it to be a worthy topic, the money will be transferred.”