In his capacity as chairman of United Torah Judaism, Deputy Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman on Monday issued a statement on the situation in Teveria. After the city council failed for the third time to pass a budget – and dispersed itself – Rabbi Litzman said that “Teveria has said no to incitement and hatred. Thus will be done to the man who raises his hand against the holy Shabbos and Judaism.”
Interior Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri said that he had been patient with Teveria and its mayor, Ron Kobi, but that after a third failure to pass a city budget, there would be no extensions. Kobi is set to be invited to a hearing on the budget debacle, after which he could be fired by Rabbi Deri and replaced with a temporary mayor before special elections were held. It should be noted that Teveria is not the only city where local councils have failed or refused to pass a municipal budget: The mayors of Rahat, Yarcha, and Ussfiya can expect invitations of their own, after those councils failed to pass the budget. In all four cities, the councils upon voting down their budgets for the third time automatically dispersed.
In his comments, Rabbi Litzman praised members of the Teveria council for “showing responsibility for the public and the future of Teveria and its residents. They united to put an end to the reign of Ron Kobi, who acted in a gross manner to incite against everything that is holy and valued, but was unable to manage Teveria for even one day.”
The Kobi debacle was a lesson for others, Rabbi Litzman said. “Teveria is a national warning sign. Other mayors, party leaders, and candidates, especially for half of the Prime Ministership,” he wrote, referring to Yair Lapid’s rotation agreement with Benny Gantz, “should take note. Those who raise their hands against Shabbos, against Judaism and against tradition, will fail. Hatred, incitement, and the cynical use of a war against religion is actually a recipe for political failure.”
Commenting on his woes, Kobi said Monday that city council members who had voted down the budget were “a collection of degenerates who are seeking to bury an entire city.” He raised his voice numerous times in the interview with Channel 12, saying “no one will replace me, I will remain here regardless of what the Interior Minister wants.” Those who opposed him were “agents of destruction of Aryeh Deri, with his gang members. They are guilty of breach of trust. Aryeh Deri has not won yet, he has a long way to go before he can get rid of me.”