It's official: Health Minister resigns over Shabbat train work

Resignation letter submitted this morning to take effect in 48 hours. Litzman to Arutz Sheva: 'I'm disappointed I didn't stop desecration.'

Mordechai Sones, | updated: 10:59

Litzman and Netanyahu
Litzman and Netanyahu
Abir Sultan - Flash 90

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) submitted his letter of resignation from the government today, Sunday, in light of railroad work that took place on Shabbat.

The resignation takes effect after 48 hours, before which it may be withdrawn.

Upon entering this morning's cabinet meeting, Litzman told Arutz Sheva, "I am disappointed with myself for failing to prevent Sabbath desecration. I will return to the government if the Sabbath desecration ceases."

In the Likud ministers' meeting, the Prime Minister emphasized his intention to take upon himself the position of Health Minister at this stage instead of appointing a replacement, so as to enable Litzman's return to the government.

However, UTJ does not intend to withdraw from the coalition over the issue, and those surrounding Netanyahu are also looking for ways to bring the resigning minister back to the Health Ministry.

According to the solution apparently being formed, a special law will be passed that will allow Litzman to be appointed "Deputy Minister with Status of Minister" in order to circumvent the Supreme Court's ruling on the subject. In the past, UTJ MKs never accepted the position of minister, choosing to be called deputy minister instead, although no minister was appointed above them and in effect, they ran the ministry.

Following a petition to the Supreme Court filed by the Yesh Atid party which called this way of doing things improper governing, Litzman was forced to choose between leaving the Health Ministry and being appointed a full-time minister.

In wake of the ruling in Yesh Atid's favor, Litzman received the approval and blessing of the Rebbe of Gur, the Hassidic group to which he belongs and under whose auspices he serves in the Knesset, to be appointed as full-time Health Minister.

However, following the Shabbat crisis, the Rebbe of Gur instructed Litzman that if all railroad work would not stop on the Sabbath, he should resign his membership in the government, and this is what he did this morning.

As a result, efforts are being made to pave the way for Litzman to be reinstated as Deputy Health Minister.



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