The dean of the Bnei Brak Kisse Rahamim Yeshivah and spiritual leader of the Yahad haredi Zionist party on Saturday night criticized Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) for the way he handled the issue of Tel Aviv stores remaining open on Shabbat.
"It will spread from city to city," Rabbi Meir Mazuz said. "They allowed some, and they will continue to allow others. And how did it happen? It happened because of us, we did not immediately say, 'NO! We will not allow this!' without fearing anyone."
"Shabbat is above everything, we need to explain this to them."
Addressing Deri directly, Mazuz continued, "A person needs to observe the Torah. Don't fear, be 'as light as a deer and as bold as a leopard (a Talmudic saying, ed.)' in your task as Interior Minister. Say 'we don't do this' - without being a yes-man to anyone. I am sure they did not ask their local Torah sages!"
"We sit and sit, for one month, for two months, without doing anything. And then three female judges decide what they want.
"Years ago, even the National Religious Party broke up a coalition because of a small Shabbat desecration. What has happened to the haredi parties? Are we less than the National Religious?
"The Shabbat is a present to the Jewish nation. Without the Shabbat, we would have become completely assimilated. Those who founded the State of Israel were secular, but they understood the value of Shabbat.
"'More than Israel guards the Shabbat, the Shabbat guards Israel' - this was not said by our sages! It was said by a secular scholar (Zionist essayist Ahad Ha'am, ed.), who understood the value of Shabbat and how important Shabbat is to the Jewish nation. Another scholar said, 'Shabbat turns a running dog into a prince every week.' Shabbat turns you into a prince! Everyone understood then that we need to keep Shabbat in the public sphere."
in December 1976, then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's coalition with the Mafdal religious Zionist party collapsed after an IAF ceremony at an airbase welcoming the arrival of the first three F-15 fighter jets to Israel desecrated the Sabbath. This was not repeated when Yesh Atid head, MK Yair Lapid, held a press conference on the Sabbath.