Yakov Litzman
Yakov Litzman Flash 90

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) on Friday resigned from the government due to the conflict over construction work on Shabbat (the Sabbath).

Despite Litzman's resignation, the UTJ party will remain in the coalition.

Prior to Litzman's resignation, Labor, Welfare, and Social Services Minister Haim Katz (Likud) told Israel Railways to only work on what was absolutely necessary and would be dangerous to work on during high-traffic weekdays.

"After a thorough investigation of the matter, I allowed only essential construction to take place on Shabbat," Katz said. "This construction includes things which, if done on a [busy] weekday, would place lives in danger. My decision reflects the religious community's feelings on the matter, yet at the same time ensures the continuation of regular transportation on Sunday."

Litzman, a Gur hassid, was told by his Rebbe to resign his post, despite the fact that most of the construction done on the trains is necessary and cannot be done on weekdays.

On Thursday, Litzman said his party would quit the coalition if a resolution was not found, yet said he did not want new elections. He then decided on a solution that lets him live with his conscience but leaves the coalition, which has been very forthcoming to the haredi sector, intact..