Labor Candidates Pledge Anti-Religious Agenda

Labor party candidate Avi Gabay casts his vote at a polling station in Yerushalayim last week. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In a debate between the two candidates in the Labor Party runoff set for Monday, both said they favored public transportation on Shabbos and a rollback of religious curricula in the schools, Arutz Sheva reported Sunday.

Amir Peretz, a former defense minister and Histadrut head, shared his socialist view of Torah, saying, “I have much respect for the values of Tanach, and I see it as the most important socialist document which maintains a worker’s dignity and right to a day of rest. I favor limited intercity and local public transport while maintaining worker rights and not harming the public sphere.”

He did qualify his stance, though, adding that “since this is a change of status quo it should be achieved through dialogue with those who oppose” public transport on Shabbos.

Avi Gabbay, a former environmental protection minister, also voiced support for chillul Shabbos. “Not implementing public transport is a social injustice,” he opined. “I support limited public transport on Shabbat which will be determined by the local authority in accordance with the needs and character of the residents, while maintaining workers’ rights.”

Both candidates also took swipes at the nemesis of the left, Education Minister Naftali Bennett.

Gabbay claimed that “religious brainwashing is one of the more serious phenomena in Israeli society. Minister Bennett and his party are using public money and the education system as a means to bring people closer to Judaism and are focused on broadening the gaps between religious and secular education. I intend to put an end to this.”

Peretz promised, “On the day I am elected prime minister I will bring to the first cabinet meeting the cancelation of all the anti-democratic laws and will erase all of the political content which has been inserted into the education system in order to maintain an independent and separate state system. Bennett, Elkin and Shaked can legislate what they want and change schoolbooks; all of this I intend to repeal within 100 days of my election as prime minister.”

In the meantime, Peretz and Gabbay are busy trying to cancel each other out.

Referring to polls published last week, Gabbay told Peretz: “Only 6 percent of the public supports you for prime minister after you were defense minister; I have 11 percent.”

“Let somebody put Avi Gabbay’s name in the ballot box, then maybe you can start talking so arrogantly,” Peretz said, in an apparent reference to his rival’s lack of experience in elections. “A little modesty wouldn’t hurt you.”

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