Rabbi Litzman Calls Off Threat to Resign After Deal Reached on Train Work

Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman. (Flash90)

Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman called off his threat to resign from his post in the government if construction work on train routes took place on Shabbos, after reaching a compromise deal with the Labor Ministry over the issue.

According to a statement from Rabbi Litzman’s office, repair work on the train line between the Negev cities of Dimona and Be’er Sheva was done this past Shabbos, but only on a one-time basis, with only non-Jewish workers.

Rabbi Litzman added that if the government violated the compromise in the future, he would follow through with his threat to quit.

On Friday, Rabbi Yaakov Litzman had informed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that if Shabbos was to be desecrated by infrastructure work for the train, chalilah, he would resign on Sunday from his position in the government.

Throughout the day, discussions were held between the offices of Health Minister Rabbi Litzman, the Prime Minister’s Bureau and Labor Minister Chaim Katz regarding the planned work for Shabbos. Being that it was last-minute and that the repair work had already begun, Rabbi Litzman agreed to the one-time compromise of the work being done by non-Jews for this Shabbos.

For several months, the chareidi parties have protested the government’s ongoing flouting of agreements and understandings reached to eliminate public chillulei Shabbos, such as railway infrastructure work despite there being no pikuach nefesh involved. All attempts to appeal to the various ministers or the special government committee that was established for this purpose have, unfortunately, been fruitless thus far.