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Israel News

Haredim criticize Netanyahu for congratulating gold medalist on Shabbat

CM 07/08/2021

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The leaders of the ultra-Orthodox political parties Shas and United Torah Judaism all issued rare criticism of leader of the opposition Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom they have shared an unbreakable political alliance for more than a decade. 

Shas leader MK Arye Deri, and United Torah Judaism leaders MK Moshe Gafni and MK Yaakov Litzman all issued statements to the press late Saturday night chastising Netanyahu for violating Shabbat by phoning Israeli gold-medal winning Olympian Linoy Ashram during the course of the Shabbat to congratulate her for her achievement, and then releasing a statement to the press about it.
To make it worse for Netanyahu, both Gafni and Litzman praised President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for waiting till after Shabbat to issue their congratulations. 
The ultra-Orthodox leaders seldom publicly criticize the former prime minister, and their statements might indicate the beginning of stress in the alliance.

“The statement the head of the opposition Netanyahu issued during holy Shabbat offended the multitude of Shabbat observant Jews and offended his faithful partners for whom Shabbat is very dear to their hearts,” said Deri. 
“Mr. Netanyahu, Shabbat which forgives its honor, its honor is not relinquished.”
UTJ chairman MK Moshe Gafni said that the Olympic games were not a situation of a live-saving necessity, for which Shabbat can be violated, and said the head of the opposition was a state office and that Netanyahu should therefore not have issued his statement. 
“I am happy that the president and prime minister waited until the end of Shabbat, that is how Mr. Netanyahu should have acted.”
Said Litzman “It is very sad the fact that head of the opposition Netanyahu did not think it was correct to wait till after Shabbat to praise the Olympic achievement in Tokyo, and chose to violate Shabbat in public, without any true need. It is expected of someone with a state office to respect Shabbat, as the president and prime minister did.”
In response to the criticism the Likud party issued a statement saying the press release had been issued by mistake.
“The Likud always protected the honor of Shabbat and was strict not to issue press statements during Shabbat, and we will continue to act as such. Issuing the statement an hour before the end of Shabbat was a technical mistake which we are sorry for,” said the party.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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