Rabbi Haim Amsalem
Rabbi Haim AmsalemFlash 90

Former MK Rabbi Haim Amsalem slammed MK Yakov Litzman (UTJ) for resigning from his post as Health Minister because construction work was being done on Shabbat (Sabbath).

"I see this as utter nonsense and complete hypocrisy," Amsalem said. "What, all of a sudden Litzman discovered that construction work is being done on Shabbat? What about the Leumi credit card company, which works from Bnei Brak 24 hours a day, seven days a week? What about the credit card companies of other banks, which work on Shabbat and force Jews to work on Shabbat? UTJ's Knesset members know about these companies, too."

"I have letters that we sent to these companies, but we didn't make the news, because no one cared. So to suddenly make noise about construction work on Shabbat, when I believe that some of the construction work is actually necessary and would present a threat to life if it were done on a weekday, and some of it, if not most of it, is done by non-Jews, and our rabbis quietly agreed to allow this?

"I've been involved in this issue for several years. The banks' credit card companies force Jews to work on Shabbat. I am willing to show you my correspondence with UTJ's MKS. They all know about this issue, but no one does anything about it."

Rabbi Amsalem believes the entire issue is political, and is causing a desecration of G-d's Name.

"Maybe Litzman is being pressured by the Gerrer Rebbe, who is his rabbi," Amsalem said. "That's fine, but we need to understand one thing: This kind of behavior does not sanctify G-d's Name. It simply makes the Israeli public hate religion, and encourages non-halakhic (not following Jewish law) and non-Orthodox Jewish groups to grow and thrive in Israel."

"There is an entire group that is sick of this kind of behavior and how it attempts to force others to submit. We need to be careful not to, G-d forbid, encourage and push the Israeli public into the arms of those who we do not approve of."

According to Rabbi Amsalem, Litzman's resignation is a simply a game of make-believe.

"This is all politics, the inner secrets of which I cannot understand," he said. "The Gur hasidim are pressuring Litzman, and Litzman has to do what he has to do. But this is just hypocrisy, because Litzman is resigning but his party remains in the coalition. So what did he accomplish? He is playing make-believe. 'I'm not a minister, so I'm not responsible' - really? Who exactly is he laughing at? Who exactly is he trying to fool? [In the Friday night prayers, we say] 'the final action was preceded by thought.' We need to be careful not to desecrate G-d's Name."

"When we want to sanctify G-d's Name, we must be certain we do not desecrate it further."