Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed on Thursday to promote legislation that would grant Minister of the Interior Aryeh Deri (Shas) the authority to enforce the Work and Rest Hours Law, thus allowing him to prevent supermarkets from being open on Shabbos. Netanyahu’s statement came during a meeting with ultra-Orthodox leaders Aryeh Deri (Shas), Health Minister Ya’akov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) and MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism).
Last month, the High Court ruled that the Tel Aviv Municipality is allowed to keep 164 supermarkets open on Shabbat. However, during Thursday’s meeting, Netanyahu hinted that the government’s position may lean in favor of another High Court discussion on the matter.
The Work and Rest Law falls under the authority of the Social Affairs and Social Services Ministry. However, current Minister Haim Katz (Likud) has stated that his official policy is not to enforce it. During Thursday’s meeting, Deri requested that he be granted the authority to enforce the Work and Rest instead of Katz.
While Netanyahu did not fully relent, he reportedly promised the government would promote legislation that would grant the interior minister the authority to enact said law, as well. In essence, this would allow Minister Deri to override Minister Katz and force supermarkets to shut down on Shabbat or face fines, even if Minister Katz remains reluctant to enforce it himself. Read more at YNet.