MK Motti Yogev
MK Motti Yogev Miriam Alster/Flash 90

MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home) addressed the recent tensions between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz surrounding work on the railway system on Shabbat.

According to Yogev, the tensions are none of anybody’s business except for the two persons involved. “There is a proverb which says: ‘He who grabs the ear of a passing dog is involving himself in an argument that isn’t his.’ There’s no room for anybody, certainly not a public official, to get involved in an argument between two people. The State needs to act responsibly. Two people need to meet and solve the problems,” Yogev said.

Addressing the issue of Shabbat violations involving work on public projects, Yogev said, “it would be proper for the Committee to include the Chief Rabbinate, limit work on Shabbat as much as possible and bring up for consideration only those works without which the State cannot function.

“The demand of the haredim was correct that work was being done which was not for the sake of preventing life-threatening situations. The Chief Rabbinate needs to be in the Committee and bring to the table the Torah’s opinion, and what it says about keeping the Shabbat publicly inside the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state,” Yogev added.

Yogev does not accept the assertion of Israel Railways that work has been done on Shabbat for years (so why the ruckus now, all of a sudden?): “It could be that they just realized it now,” he said. “People who keep Shabbat are not in the habit of going near the railways on Shabbat, and those who don’t keep Shabbat don’t care anyway. Once a problem is discovered, it has to be clarified and studied in depth, so as to bring things to solutions in accordance with the status quo and honoring the Shabbat.

“Things should not have been dealt with as they have been as a result of the crisis. First, you have to accept a decision and policy, and then implement it. If there’s a need to cancel the train for infrastructure work, that doesn’t have to mean that Sunday automatically becomes the most burdened day [as a result of postponing work originally intended for Saturday]. You could also set work for Tuesday or Wednesday, and then bring the buses as a planned substitute, not as a result of crisis. Today’s chaos and madness have got to stop. Minister Katz and the Prime Minister have got to meet to prevent crises of this kind, which hurt the general populace,” Yogev said.

Yogev refuses to place blame: “I don’t have the details of an investigation on who is to blame. We’re not at war. Our enemies are beyond the borders of the country […]

“I hope we’re not heading towards the collapse of the government. It’s a difficult crisis and the Shabbat is dear to us, but I think that the government needs to continue to solve its problems. An arguments needs two people; to prevent an argument requires one to take a step back, sleep on it, and find ways to solve the crises,” he concluded.

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