MK Gafni threatens coalition crisis if Shabbat bill not passed

Haredi MK demands state take action to restore status quo after Supreme Court permits Shabbat desecration by businesses in Tel Aviv.

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Gary Willig,

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Flash 90

MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) threatened a coalition crisis if the state failed to pass the 'Shabbat bill' following the Supreme Court's decision to permit businesses and stores to remain open on the Shabbat in Tel Aviv.

Under the proposed bill, the Interior Ministry would be granted greater authority to approve municipal bylaws. The legislation would allow Interior Minister Aryeh Deri to prevent any municipalities from passing laws permitting businesses to desecrate the Shabbat.

In order to circumvent the recent court ruling, the bill would apply retroactively to all municipal bylaws issued after January 1, 2014, before Tel Aviv passed bylaws permitting Shabbat desecration.

"I consulted with Torah Authortiies about how to deal with the matter, and so he instructed me at the time," MK Gafni said in an interview with journalist Aryeh Zisman.

He said he had not raised the proposal with the Ministerial Committee for Legislation until now because he had waited for the Supreme Court ruling. We waited for the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision after the request for a rehearing. If the Supreme Court did not intervene and violate the status quo, we would not have needed this law."

Gafni said that if the government does not pass his bill, it will cause a coalition crisis. "There was an agreement [to prevent Shabbat desecration], and it must be respected. There are two types of coalition crises. There are crises in which our partnership in the coalition cannot continue, and then we go home and have elections, and there is a kind of crisis in the coalition partners do not support our law, and so we do not support their laws in response. [In such a case] all legislation would be frozen."

He said that the coalition crisis which would result over the Shabbat bill would be the kind which would lead to the dissolving of the coalition and new elections. However, he reiterated his certainty that this would not come to pass and that the law would be passed instead. "We will pass this law together with the coalition factions."

He also threatened a lesser coalition crisis if another United Torah Judaism bill is not passed. "If the Supermarket Law does not pass, then we will create a crisis in that we will not support the laws of the other coaliton partners. The government will continue to exist, but it will be without legislation. If there is no supermarket law, then there will be no other laws."

Gafni reiterated that the haredi parties had no intention of creating new laws to restrict Shabbat desecration until the Supreme Court violated the status quo. "We did not initiate the problem and did not come to enact new laws. This law is intended to bring the situation back to normal, because it was the Supreme Court that violated the status quo with its ruling. This requires us to respond immediately as we are doing."








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