UTJ Breaks Off Coalition Talks Over Shabbos Work Issue

YERUSHALAYIM -
utj coalition
MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni of United Torah Judaism. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

United Torah Judaism broke off coalition negotiations with the Likud party on Monday after learning that the government had issued permits for thousands to work on Shabbos during the upcoming Eurovision.

“A light trigger-finger to issue thousands of permits to work on Shabbat is shocking,” UTJ’s Rabbi Moshe Gafni said, adding that his party could not accept “this grave situation.”

“In the current situation it is impossible to continue (negotiations). We will not remain silent about the desecration of Shabbat,” Rabbi Gafni said. “We informed them (Likud) that what was there would be no more.”

Outgoing Minister of Religious Services, Yitzchak Vaknin (Shas), sent a letter to Likud Friday morning saying he needed more time to study the matter, expressing his outrage at the last-minute demand for the permits.

Vaknin noted that the event had been in the planning for “about a year,” and that the issue of possible chilul Shabbos should have been addressed long ago.