Haim Bibas
Haim BibasCredit: Hezki Baruch

Modi'in mayor Haim Bibis announced at a recent council meeting that Modi'in will not join the public transport initiative on Saturday that began operations in the last two months in Tel Aviv and other cities in the Gush Dan area.

"Public transportation on Saturday should only be initiated by the state and not the local authorities," Bibis said. "We have not come to replace the state."

Bibis announced that he is advocating a compromise of operating the Shabbat buses to Tel Aviv recreation centers throughout the year instead of only in the summer.

Bibis's announcement soon became a political dispute between Yisrael Beyteinu chairman MK Avigdor Liberman and Finance Committee chairman Moshe Gafni (UTJ).

"My friend Haim, I was amazed to hear your position on public transportation on Saturday," Liberman wrote. " I suggest to the residents of Modi'in to take caution that they won't wake up in the morning and find out that Modi'in has turned into Modi'in Ilit [a nearby haredi city]."

Gafni wrote in response to Liberman: "Mr. Haim Bibis is acting responsibly. He is not turning Modi'in into Modi'in Ilit - in contrast to you, Avigdor Liberman - who stood in line for many years to receive blessings from rabbis, hassidic leaders and kabbalists, and one day stood up and became a hater of religion."