Likud members urge Netanyahu not to fire Katz

Ministers and Knesset Members from the Likud urge Prime Minister not to dismiss Transportation Minister over Shabbat work.

Hezki Baruch ,

Netanyahu and Katz
Netanyahu and Katz
Emil Salman/POOL

Ministers and Knesset Members from the Likud on Saturday night urged Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu not to dismiss Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz over the saga involving railway infrastructure work on Shabbat.

"Minister Katz is doing a great job and is operating on the issue of the train work in accordance with the law and for the benefit of the general public in Israel," said Social Affairs Minister Haim Katz. "As a minister responsible for issuing permits for work on Shabbat, I urge the Prime Minister to sit down and negotiate in order to end the crisis and solve the problem with the haredi parties."

Deputy Construction and Housing Minister Jackie Levy called on Netanyahu to negotiate with Katz instead of firing him.

“The Likud ministers showed loyalty to Prime Minister Netanyahu throughout the term of the government. Even when it seemed that most of the voices called for change in the country's leadership, the Likud members stood as a bulwark for the continued rule of the Likud, headed by Binyamin Netanyahu,” said Levy.

“These and other such arguments may occur in every faction as we are unfortunately witnessing these days, but these arguments should be settled in house, with open talks and definitely without firings, which is the last possible way to settle disagreements between the Prime Minister and a senior minister,” he added.

Earlier on Saturday night, MK Oren Hazan (Likud) came to Katz's defense as well.

"Enough with the bashing of Yisrael Katz. He is not the enemy,” Hazan said, in a direct appeal to Netanyahu. “Continued internal rivalries hurt the Likud, will hurt you and will lead to elections and end your term as prime minister. How do you expect that the public will trust us when we are portrayed as fighting amongst ourselves all the time?”

Sources in the Likud said on Saturday that there is a there a good chance that Netanyahu could fire Katz, in light of recent tensions surrounding work on Israel Railways on Shabbat.

The comments came after Netanyahu on Friday ordered the cancellation of all the infrastructure work that had been scheduled to take place on the Israel Railways over Shabbat, and ordered the parties involved to reach a solution on the matter within 72 hours.

In an unusually harsh statement, the Prime Minister’s Office accused Katz of trying to cause a coalition crisis with the haredi parties by ordering that the work be carried out on Shabbat.