'Liberman's behavior will bring down the government'

Agriculture Minister calls on DM to act responsibly in Supermarket Law vote: 'Right will continue to rule, why force new elections?'

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Benny Toker - Mordechai Sones,

Minister Uri Ariel
Minister Uri Ariel
Flash 90

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home), in an interview with Arutz Sheva, called on coalition members to "act responsibly" with regards to the proposed Supermarket Law, which will empower the Interior Minister to strike down municipal codes permitting the opening of local businesses on the Sabbath.

"Some coalition member's behavior violates coalition discipline, and this can very quickly lead to a reality in which each party decides what it won't vote on, which will lead to pandemonium ending in elections - which no one wants."

Ariel accused Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and his Yisrael Beytenu party of creating unnecessary coalition friction by actively protesting the bill.

"One must be very responsible and cautious, which Liberman isn't doing. He claims the coalition agreement is on his side, but only he thinks so; no one agrees with him. I'll make every effort with my allies not to be dragged into elections. Because in order to achieve the same result that we have today, we don't need elections.

"Why waste two billion shekels and create tensions and rifts? Even if one party gets more and the other less, the Right will still be in power, that's my assessment. So all these elections are unnecessary and should wait until their time comes."

He says that he will support the Supermarket Law, although in his opinion it does not represent the real solution to the Shabbat issue. "We will vote in favor, but the Supermarket Law is a short-term law, and the Supermarket Law authorizes the Interior Minister to authorize the local authority to open or not open on Shabbat ... Suppose, in two months, the Interior Minister will be Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah. What if he lets everyone open on Shabbat? It's good for short-term only."

According to him the solution lies in adding a rest day to the work week. "The permanent solution is for Sunday to become a day of rest also, as it is in the entire Western world in addition to Saturday. It would be Saturday and Sunday. You want to go to the beach? Or shopping? Go on Sunday.

"Shabbat will be a Jewish Shabbat in the public sphere, and whoever wants to go to the beach has public transportation on Sunday. We are a Jewish democracy and we hope it will reach the Knesset. I think it's a convincing solution that Saturday will be a day to be with the family. It's not such a punishment to be with the family."

Ariel still hopes the opposition will recant and pair with MK Yehuda Glick, whose wife, Yaffa, was laid to rest this afternoon: "That they refuse to pair Yehuda Glick, our friend, is unprecedented. It's not Jewish, it's immoral, irrational, and inhuman. I hope that the opposition will come to their senses and find someone who will pair with him during his difficult hour."

In parliamentary practice, "pairing" is an informal arrangement between government and opposition parties whereby a parliament member agrees or is designated to abstain from voting while a member of the other party needs to be absent due to pressing commitments, illness, travel problems, etc. The member abstaining from voting is referred to as a "pair". In Israel, the Hebrew term used is kizuz, which literally means "reduction" or "offset".