Deri: We Will Not be Silent on Shabbat Desecration

Shas chairman blasts Netanyahu and Katz for allowing Ma'ariv Bridge clean-up to continue throughout Jewish day of rest.

Haim Lev ,

Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri
Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri
Flash 90

Economy Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) has threatened Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) over a "serious desecration of Shabbat" concerning the clearing of the Ma'ariv Bridge site. 

In an angry letter sent to Netanyahu and Katz, Deri wrote that after the bridge's demolition on Friday morning, construction workers spent both Friday and Saturday clearing rubble from the site. 

"I must alert you to a serious Shabbat desecration that occurred Saturday while workers cleared the Ma'ariv Bridge rubble," he wrote.

"There was no reason the 'Danya-Cebus' construction company was employed by the NTA Metropolitan Mass Transit System to work on Shabbat," Deri charged. 

The minister claimed he had phoned Transportation Ministry director-general Uzi Yitzhaki on Thursday night before the demolition to demand the work be completed before the beginning of Shabbat.

"But, unfortunately, the work continued throughout Saturday," Deri opined. 

According to Deri, clearing the rubble did not constitute "pikuach nefesh" (saving a life) - a halakhic (Jewish legal) principle for which breaking Shabbat becomes permissible. 

"Furthermore," he suggested, "the explosion could have taken place on Sunday or two days before Saturday and not caused massive Shabbat desecration."

Deri stressed that Shas would prohibit similar Shabbat desecration over the next six years, while the light rail is being built.  

"I am a member of the government, responsible for all its actions. But the next time Shabbat desecration occurs in relation to building the light rail or any other government project, the Shas party, under my leadership, will not go unchallenged."