Rabbis to Netanyahu: Protect the honor of Shabbat

Dozens of rabbis sign petition asking PM Netanyahu to protect sanctity of Shabbat.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Olivier Fitoussi/POOL

Dozens of rabbis signed a petition requesting Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu "protect the honor of Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath)."

The petition, organized by the Derech Emuna (The Path of Faith) organization, comes after the Knesset's Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved a government proposal to allow Labor and Social Services Minister Haim Katz (Likud) to define and limit the conditions under which government employees or employees of state-owned entities may be employed on Shabbat.

Derech Emuna Chairman Rabbi Baruch Efrati on Saturday night said, "Shabbat is a basic tenet of our identity. It is what makes us the Jewish nation and what gives our country its Jewish character."

"Shabbat is more important than political considerations, and protecting Shabbat in the public forum is as important as breathing. This is what breathes life into the State of Israel and offers it strength. Only if all public work done on Shabbat receives the approval of the Chief Rabbinate will we succeed in protecting the honor of Shabbat and the honor of the State of Israel."

On Saturday afternoon, forty secular Israelis demonstrated in front of Interior Minister Aryeh Deri's (Shas) home, protesting the "supermarket law" which he is currently working to advance in order to prevent the opening of food stores on the Sabbath. Israel Police prevented the protesters from entering Kaplan Street in Jerusalem's Har Nof neighborhood, and the protesters promised a weekly demonstration at the site.

On Tuesday, the Knesset approved the first reading of the "Supermarket Law," which will grant the Interior Minister the powers to disqualify municipal bylaws promoted by the local authorities, effectively shutting down supermarkets that had been operating on Shabbat with permission from the local authority.

However, the "Supermarket Law" will not apply to Tel Aviv, and supermarkets there will be allowed to remain open on Shabbat.

You can read the Hebrew petition here.