Israeli politicians denounced statements made by ultra-Orthodox MK Moshe Gafni in recordings that were made public on Monday, during which he is heard saying that United Torah Judaism intends to work towards the enforcement of closing businesses on the Sabbath. The controversial statements came amid the passing of the minimarket bill last week.

Moshe Gafni

Moshe Gafni Photo Credit: Flash90

After Ultra-Orthodox MK Moshe Gafni’s controversial Sabbath statements were made public, Israeli politicians responded on Monday. Coalition and opposition Knesset members largely denounced Gafni’s words and said they would not allow a change in the status quo in Israel, the existing political understanding not to change current religious arrangements in the country.

Yisrael Beiteinu MK Yulia Malinovsky, whose party firmly objected to the minimarket bill, said she was “horrified.” She also added that Gafni’s statements will lead to anger among the liberal public in Israel, bringing down the right-wing government.

MK Zehava Gal-On, head of the Metez party said in a post on her Twitter account that not only did the Israeli government “decide that the majority of the public’s Sabbath is not enough,” but that taxpayer money will now fund hundreds of inspectors for enforcing a law which she called “lunatic.” MK Ksenia Svetlova of the Machane HaTzioni party said the recording “proves how much the prime minister, a secular man himself, is powerless opposite his partners,” referring to the ultra-Orthodox parties in the coalition.

As previously reported by JOL, the Israeli Knesset passed the minimarket bill last week, a law may enforce the shuttering of stores on Saturday throughout Israel and is part of a compromise deal between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the ultra-Orthodox parties in the coalition. On Monday, the tapes obtained by the Israel News Company revealed that Israeli ultra-Orthodox Knesset members intend to promote an enforcement track for closing businesses on the Sabbath.