Netanyahu apologizes to haredim for Shabbat desecration

Opposition leader apologized to haredim after posting a video during Shabbat in which he is seen congratulating gold medalist Linoy Ashram.

Ben Ariel ,

Netanyahu apologizes for Shabbat desecration
Netanyahu apologizes for Shabbat desecration
Michael Shemesh, Kan 11 News

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday apologized to the haredim for posting a video during Shabbat in which he is seen congratulating gymnast Linoy Ashram, who won a gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics.

"I am very strict about keeping the Sabbath," Netanyahu said during a Sheva Brachot ceremony for the daughter of MK Yaakov Asher (United Torah Judaism). "My staff is very diligent, and they do not understand that what happened as Prime Minister, applies even now. This will not happen again. I say this out of respect for Shabbat. This is what guides me and my family."

MKs from the haredi parties, as well as Religious Zionist Party chairman Bezalel Smotrich, criticized Netanyahu on Saturday night for posting the video on Shabbat, in what was seen as an attempt to upstage Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and congratulate Ashram before he did.

The Likud apologized and claimed that this was a technical error. "The Likud has always respected Shabbat and made sure not to publish statements to the media during Shabbat, and this is how we will continue to act. The publication of the announcement today, about an hour before the conclusion of Shabbat, was a technical mistake that we regret."

MK Yuval Steinitz on Sunday rejected the criticism of Netanyahu.

“I don’t see any problem with congratulating sports competitors on Shabbat,” Steinitz said in an interview on Radio 103FM. “Anyone who isn’t religious or haredi travels on Shabbat and talks on the phone on Shabbat. To my mind, this is simply being excessively sensitive and all the fuss being made is out of place.”