Chareidi Parties Demand Immediate Halt to Chillulei Shabbos for Railways Repairs

YERUSHALAYIM -

Yet another crisis looms, as Israel Railways said Wednesday that, unlike last Shabbos when a similar crisis was averted by using non-Jewish workers, this Shabbos more than 100 engineers and technicians who are Jewish are essential for railway repairs.

In a meeting Wednesday night between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Labor Minister Chaim Katz, Minister Yariv Levin and the leaders of the chareidi parties, Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman, Finance Committee Chairman Rabbi Moshe Gafni and Interior Rabbi Aryeh Deri, the sides discussed ways to try resolve a dispute over Shabbos train repairs that has put the coalition in jeopardy.

Asides for the railways works, there are also other issues related to spreading chillulei Shabbos that have aroused the ire of the chareidi community. Last week, MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni walked out of the Knesset plenum while voting was taking place on legislation because his bill to ban grocery stores from opening on Shabbos had not been advanced.

The factions demand that the prime minister implement the coalition agreement, restore the status quo to its former status, and immediately stop the unnecessary infrastructure work.

Israel Railways said that if the infrastructure work will not be done on Shabbos, trains would have to be shut down for a full day during the week, harming the commute of thousands of people.

Katz’s associates said he was confident that professionals in his ministry could find a solution, that would both keep the status quo on Shabbos and not harm the public.