Photo Credit: Moshe Shai/FLASH90
Construction of the new Tel Aviv Light Rail, August 20, 2019.

United Torah Judaism Chairman and Housing Minister Yitzhak Goldknopf on Sunday morning sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Transportation Minister Miri Regev (Likud), demanding that the works being conducted on the railroad over the weekend be canceled.

UTJ Chairman Rabbi Yitzchak Goldknopf arrives at the coalition talks in Jerusalem, November 6, 2022. / Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

In the letter, which was CC’ed to the economy minister, the heads of the coalition parties, and the deputy minister of transportation, Goldknopf stated that the works are “contrary to the coalition agreements signed between the Likud and the Haredi parties.” He noted that “It was brought to my attention that the works on Shabbat on the Israel Railways do not at all meet the definition of ‘Pikuach nefesh’ (labor performed on Shabbat to prevent danger to life – DI).”


Reporter Tali Ben Ovadia tweeted a video she shot of the Shabbat works, noting how hypocritical the right-wing and Haredi government was.

Was shooting the video done to prevent danger to life? You be the judge. The fact is that, according to Israel Railways, those works can only be done on Shabbat, when train traffic is suspended. Otherwise, they would have to suspend the trains on a weekday, and who knows how big the extent of the damage from that would be.

Israel Railways announced that due to works connecting the rails to the electricity network on the line connecting the Ashkelon and Rehovot stations, and the preparations for starting the Binyamina – Rehovot line, there will be changes in train traffic on weekends only in the Ashkelon, Ashdod, Yavneh, Rehovot, Beer Ya’akov and Lod areas.

Former Transport Minister Merav Michaeli (Labor) commented on the demand to stop work on Shabbat, saying, “The price of stopping railroad works on Shabbat is a tremendous harm to the public that travels on trains and public transportation.” She added that “as the Minister of Transportation I decided to increase the work on Shabbat. This is how we finished a large part of the train electrification project earlier than expected, and the trains to the north are coming back. I call on [new Transport Minister] Regev not to give in to Goldknopf’s delusional demands.”

I asked former Transport Minister Bezalel Smotrich’s spokesperson if during his tenure labor was performed on Shabbat, and he responded that since it was the height of the Corona pandemic, they were able to work on connecting the railroad to electricity six days a week in the daytime, and there was no need to work on Shabbat or at night.

God saves the righteous and protects them in times of trouble. (Psalms 37:39)


Previous articleNew Calendar
Next articleChallenging anti-Israel Fallacies with Facts
David writes news at