Yaakov Litzman
Yaakov LitzmanHadas Parush/Flash 90

Former Health Minister Yakov Litzman (UTJ) warned Labor leader Avi Gabbay that the haredi parties would not help Gabbay form a coalition government, even if his party wins the most seats in the upcoming November 2019 elections.

Previously, Gabbay supported the Givatayim municipality's attempt to allow public Shabbat (Sabbath) desecration.

"With Gabbay's hostility towards what is holy to Israel, he completely neutralizes any chance that the haredi parties will join a future coalition of his," Litzman told Hamodia Magazine.

"His strange behavior, standing by those who harm the holy Shabbat, does not point to a path which will unite the nation. Rather, it shows the opposite: There is no vision here, just allowing yourself to be dragged to the side of those who are not good. This deviant path will not bring any glory."

But Labor officials pushed back on Litzman's criticism, saying that the relationship of religion and state in Israel is "complex",and that Gabbay is the only party leader in Israel capable of balancing the needs of the country's "various populations".

"As Litzman knows, Avi Gabbay is the only politician in the entire system who understands who complex the situation is and who is willing to integrate the needs of this country's various populations," a spokesman for Gabbay said. "This is the path which will allow us to live together, without coercion and with understanding and with patience for all parties involved. This is the path which will turn Israel into the best country in the world."

On Sunday might, Gabbay spoke to Givatayim Mayor Ron Konik, and told Konik that he supports the decision to create a municipal bylaw which will allow businesses to remain open on Shabbat.

"Part of our vision to be the best country in the world is to allow every locality to choose the local lifestyle, in accordance with their [population's] characteristics," Gabbay tweeted. "This is what a modern society should look like, and as always, we are respecting religion, but not religious coercion."

In April, the Supreme Court approved a Tel Aviv bylaw allowing supermarkets to remain open on Shabbat.

Last month, Litzman resigned from his post as Health Minister due to the conflict over construction work on Shabbat.

Currently, haredi MKs are working to pass 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 the Sabbath with permission from the local authority.

The "Supermarket Law" will not apply to Tel Aviv.