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Peres: Jews Should Keep the Sabbath

President Shimon Peres says if he could, he would want all Jews to work only six days, "as the Torah commands." See his visit to Ponovezh Yeshiva.
By Hillel Fendel and Yoni Kempinski
First Publish: 3/10/2010, 3:29 PM / Last Update: 3/10/2010, 4:09 PM

Yoni Kempinski
President Shimon Peres says if he could, he would want all Jews to work only six days, "as the Torah commands."

He made the remarks during his visit on Wednesday to the largely hareidi-religious city of Bnei Brak, where he made stops in the renowned Yeshiva of Ponovezh and in the IROX hi-tech company office.
 
Peres spoke with the reporters at the Yeshiva about his support for the agreement by which students dedicated to Torah learning may do so at the expense of army service. Arutz Sheva TV accompanied Peres there and spoke with Rabbi Eliezer Kahaneman, President of the Ponevezh Yeshiva, who greeted him happily. Earlier, Peres met with leading sage Rabbi Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman; several hareidi extremists threw rocks at the rabbi's house during the visit.

Visiting IROX, a hareidi-owned business where 80 hareidi women work, Peres said, "I would say half-jokingly that if I really had the ability to do so, I would have all the Jews keep the Sabbath and have the opportunity to work only six days a week, as the Torah commands."

"The secular sector must adapt its work-places for hareidi Jews," Peres said, "so that there can be separation betwen men and women, and time for prayers."

Peres praised the intellectual skills of Torah scholars: "Among those who study Torah are brilliant minds. Many not-religious people go to exercise in gyms; a yeshiva is a spiritual exercise gym, where you teach your mind to think and deal with challenges. Very many religious people became men of science."

Shown data regarding the export of Israeli projects abroad, Peres said, "I will meet with Israeli companies and try to convince them to keep their business here. Israel has natural advantages in terms of the quality of the employees. There is no large company that doesn't have a research-and-development branch in Israel.  We have to make sure this continues."