'Shabbat Law' wins coalition backing

Coalition approves proposal to limit work by government-owned corporations during the Sabbath.

Tags: Haim Katz
Yoel Domb ,

MK Haim Katz
MK Haim Katz

The Ministerial Legislative Committee approved a government proposal sponsored by Labor and Social Services Minister Haim Katz (Likud) which would allow the minister to define and limit the conditions under which government employees or employees of state-owned entities may be employed on the Sabbath.

Under the proposal, the Labor and Social Services Minister would be empowered to define what work is permitted to take place on the Sabbath based on a number of criteria, including the workers' needs, Jewish tradition, alternative solutions which would not require employing workers on a weekly rest day, as well as the level of harm caused to the public arena when considering granting work permits for Sabbath work.

The proposed amendment may be submitted to the Knesset this week.

The prohibition on employing workers on a rest day has two goals: The first is the social goal of enabling workers to relax and the second is the national and religious imperative of establishing the Sabbath as a day of rest in accordance with the State of Israel's character as a Jewish state.

The law would enable the minister to allow workers to be employed during the weekly rest day if he is convinced that stopping work for such a rest day could harm the security of the state or of a particular property or entity, or if it could harm the economy, a work in process or essential provisions for the public or part of it.

Labor and Social Services Minister Katz said that "since I received the authority over work permits for the weekly day of rest, I maintained the proper balance between the vital needs and public sensitivities while showing consideration for workers welfare. The new amendment will allow considerations of worker welfare, Jewish tradition and the level of harm to the public arena to be taken into account."