Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu desecrated Shabbat when he posted a video of himself phoning to congratulate Israeli gymnast Linoy Ashram, who won a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
"I am excited on behalf of all the citizens of Israel. What an honor you have done for Israel, you made history. It is simply unbelievable, a second gold medal for Israel, you have huge credit, you have shown people what a supreme personal effort is and you have also shown your love for the State of Israel," Netanyahu told her in the video.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and President Isaac Herzog waited until the end of Shabbat before they called Ashram to congratulate her.
The chairman of the Religious Zionist Party, Bezalel Smotrich, tweeted, "Happy about Linoy's gold medal, sad about the desecration of Shabbat, happy that the Prime Minister and the President waited until after Shabbat with the congratulations, sad that Netanyahu issued a message in the middle of Shabbat, happy that more and more Jews are observing Shabbat, sad that there are those who take advantage of the medal to mock Shabbat and its observers, happy that, as has been the case throughout history, Shabbat and its observers will win."
MK Moshe Gafni of United Torah Judaism condemned the desecration of Shabbat and said, "It is very unfortunate that the chairman of the opposition, Netanyahu, did not find it appropriate to wait for Shabbat to end to welcome the Olympic achievement in Tokyo, and chose to desecrate Shabbat in public, without real need. Someone with an official title is expected to honor Shabbat, as the Prime Minister and the President did in this case.
Shas chairman Aryeh Deri also issued a statement of condemnation, saying, “The announcement made by the opposition leader Netanyahu in the midst of Shabbat hurt Shabbat-observant Jews, and hurt his loyal partners that Shabbat is very dear to their hearts.”
MK Yinon Azoulay (Shas) said, "MK Netanyahu. More than Israel kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath kept Israel. It is expected that a gold medal will also wait until after Shabbat."
MK Uri Maklev (United Torah Judaism) said, "The publication of the opposition leader's statement in the middle of Shabbat has affected not only Shabbat but the thousands of believers who see the opposition leader as the traditional right-wing leader.”
“The damage is more severe also because of his role in the past and the common future. And all this without special need. The chairman of the opposition, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, must apologize publicly, and the chairman of the opposition also has a responsibility. Does one sell his values because of public relations?"
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."