The coalition crisis over chillul Shabbos isn’t over.
In the face of difficulty in assembling coalition backing for the Supermarket Law, which would authorize Interior Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri to overrule municipal bylaws to keep supermarkets closed on Shabbos, Rabbi Deri has informed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that if the legislation is not passed he will resign from the government.
The bill was scheduled for a vote on the first reading Monday night in the Knesset plenum, and PM Netanyahu, who just returned from his European trip, will seek to resolve the issue in time for the vote.
In particular, Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu has bluntly refused to support the measure, which was part of a deal between the prime minister and the chareidi parties after Health Minister UTJ MK Rabbi Yaakov Litzman resigned his post in protest over repeated government-sanctioned chillul Shabbos in railway repairs.
MK Sharron Heskel (Likud), MK Yehudah Glick (Likud) and MK Tali Ploskov (Kulanu) have said they plan to abstain from the voting.
Liberman said he will instruct his MKs to defy PM Netanyahu’s order that all coalition members vote for the Supermarket Law, which is needed to keep the coalition together.
At the opening of a Yisrael Beytenu faction meeting, Liberman said he’s not looking for a coalition crisis, and does not want an election, but “whoever brings a bill like this to a vote will be held responsible if a right-wing government falls apart.”