PM Reassures Chareidim in Row Over Chillul Shabbos

Deputy Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman (center left) and MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni Deputy (on his left), of United Torah Judaism. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Massive chillul Shabbos in the holding of a song festival has disrupted coalition talks between the Likud and United Torah Judaism.

The UTJ canceled meetings scheduled for Tuesday to enable Deputy Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman and MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni to brief their colleagues on where matters stand, after consulting with Netanyahu, according to The Jerusalem Post.

The prime minister, who is struggling to form a governing coalition, sought in a letter to reassure the chareidi leaders of the future Likud-led government’s commitment to the religious status quo:

“I would like to clarify that the [festival] is an individual, international event that was set in advance according to international standards that are not in the control of the government and are exclusively managed by the Israel Broadcast Corporation and not by the government.

“The Israeli government is not interested in desecrating the Sabbath and most of the participants in the event are from abroad and not Jewish,” the prime minister continued. “The Israeli government respects Shabbat as the national day of rest and will continue to keep the status quo customary in Israel over the years.”

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