Minister: I was unaware of infrastructure work on Rosh Hashana

Labor Minister Katz denies responsibility for permitting construction work in Tel Aviv over Rosh Hashanah.

Michal Levy ,

Haim Katz
Haim Katz
Flash 90

Labor, Welfare, and Social Services Minister Haim Katz (Likud) told haredi ministers that he "did not know" construction work was being done on Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year).

"I didn't know," Katz told Health Minister Yakov Litzman (UTJ) and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas). "The work was not done with my permission, and they did not receive prior permission."

Katz is the minister responsible for issuing permits to work on Shabbat (Sabbath) and Jewish holidays.

During Rosh Hashanah, work was done on Tel Aviv's new Savidor-Center Train Station, drawing harsh criticism from the Knesset's haredi parties.

According to the haredi newspaper Hamodia, Katz did not give permission for construction work to be done on the train over Rosh Hashanah. Katz, they said, explained that neither himself nor any of the other responsible parties knew the work was being done on the train.

The report said the haredi ministers insisted on knowing who was responsible for the Shabbat desecration. The responsible party, they said, will need to justify his decision.

Earlier on Monday, Bnei Brak's municipality demanded a court enforce the Israeli government's promise not to allow construction on the light rail during Shabbat (Sabbath) and holidays.

In August, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appointed Yoav Hurwitz, the director of his bureau, to end the crisis with the haredim over public Shabbat work. In a meeting between Hurwitz and four haredi MKs, it was agreed that Shabbat work would only take place for safety reasons and after it was authorized by the four MKs.