Dep. Health Minister Yaakov Litzman (r) and MK Porush (l)
Dep. Health Minister Yaakov Litzman (r) and MK Porush (l) Hadas Parush/FLASH90

Haredi lawmakers are demanding that the next coalition government strictly limit public works carried out on the Sabbath, and form a committee responsible for authorizing necessary work on the Sabbath, Yediot Ahronot reported Monday.

While most Israeli government offices close during the Sabbath, some operations, including infrastructure work, are occasionally carried out on the Jewish holy day – despite pressure from haredi and national-religious lawmakers to strictly limit such work to cases where human life may be at risk if the work is delayed.

During the 34th government, haredi lawmakers repeatedly clashed with the Infrastructure Ministry over work carried out on various projects, including the Yehudit Bridge in Tel Aviv and Israel’s railway system, on the Sabbath.

Now, haredi MKs are reportedly demanding the next government form a committee, which will include not only technical experts but also religious leaders, which will be empowered to authorize – or block – public work projects on the Sabbath. The goal would be to bar work on the Sabbath for public projects were there would be no risk to human life by delaying the work until after the Sabbath.

According to the report, the committee would be given official legal standing with the passage of a bill delineating the extent of its authority as an advisory panel for the Infrastructure Minister. The United Torah Judaism faction has reported drawn up the proposal, with Shas and the Union of Right-Wing Parties backing the demand.

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