After it was decided to allow Israel Railways to conduct essential maintenance work during Shabbat, ultra-Orthodox Health Minister Yaakov Litzman handed in his resignation.

Yaakov Litzman

Yaakov Litzman Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel, Flash 90/Channel 2 News

Health Minister Yaakov Litzman of the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party announced his resignation from the government on Friday morning over a decision to allow railway maintenance work on Shabbat.

Litzman’s decision was made after Welfare and Social Services Minister Haim Katz announced that he was green-lighting only work that is critical for the safety of the train system. “My decision takes into consideration the religious sentiment while also not harming the routine of Sunday morning train passengers,” Katz said.

The Be Free Israel social movement called the move “a victory of the Israeli majority which will not sacrfice its safety and its quality of life for an aggressive religious coercion.”

Israel Railways officials said postponing the work would cause a significant delay in the opening of the Jerusalem direct line, one of the company’s flagship projects.