'There will be no coalition if businesses open on the Sabbath'

Shas leader Aryeh Deri threatens to topple coalition if not given power to force businesses to close on the Sabbath.

Gary Willig,

Aryeh Deri
Aryeh Deri
Miriam Alsterl/Flash 90

Interior Minister and Shas part leader Aryeh Deri threatened a coalition crisis after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu refused to transfer authority over the government's laws on Sabbath observance to him, according to a report by the haredi Kikkar Hashabbat Hebrew news site.

Deri has been seeking the restoration of the authority over the Sabbath laws to the Interior Ministry for months. Health Minister Yaakov Litzman raised the issue again at a coalition meeting Sunday, but the Prime Minister reiterated his refusal to restore the authority to the Interior Ministry.

Deri's made his request following reports of various Sabbath violations, such as the opening of supermarkets on the Sabbath in Tel Aviv.

According to the Prime Minister's office, Netanyahu cannot give Deri the authority he seeks because the State cannot interfere with the municipal laws of Tel Aviv.

Deri insisted that preventing the violation of the Sabbath by businesses in Tel Aviv was as important as the passing of the Regulation Law to protect Jewish communities from demolition in Judea and Samaria.

The Likud party is worried that forcing businesses to close on the Sabbath would push voters towards opposition MK Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid party, which is currently leading in the polls, and that the Supreme Court would overrule such a move.

For the Shas party, however, violations of the Sabbath are a red line that could force the party to leave the government.

"There will be no coalition if businesses open on the Sabbath." Deri threatened Netanyahu. "You cannot expect me to decide otherwise."




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