Chareidi MKs Criticize Netanyahu for Releasing Statement on Shabbos

Head of opposition and head of the Likud party Binyamin Netanyahu leads a faction meeting in the Knesset, on July 12. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Chareidi MKs criticized opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu for releasing a statement congratulating an Israeli contestant on winning an Olympic gold medal during Shabbos.

“The Olympics are not an act of pikuach nefesh. The opposition leader is a state post and it’s forbidden to put out a statement desecrating Shabbos,” United Torah Judaism head MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni said, referring to Netanyahu’s post.

He added: “I’m happy that the President and Prime Minister waited until the end of Shabbos, as Mr. Netanyahu should have also done.”

MK Rabbi Yaakov Litzman also censured Netanyahu, noting there was no “real need” for him to put out the statement during Shabbos.

“It’s expected of someone with an official state title to respect Shabbos, as the President and Prime Minister did in this case,” Rabbi Litzman said.

Shas leader Rabbi Aryeh Deri said Netanyahu’s release of the statement “hurt a great many Shabbos-observing Jews and hurt his loyal partners for whom the holy Shabbos is very dear to their hearts.”

The Likud party later apologized for Netanyahu putting out a statement during Shabbos, claiming its release on Shabbos was due to “a technical error.”

“The Likud always safeguarded the honor of Shabbos and made sure not to publish statements to the press during Shabbos, and thus we will continue to act,” the party said.

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