Photo Credit: Noam Revkin Fenton / Flash 90
Labor party leader Merav Michaeli speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on November 22, 2021.

The Light Rail in Tel Aviv and Gush Dan will operate in desecration of the Sabbath, Labor’s Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli announced this weekend.

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“I am happy to tell you that after many, many years, starting next year, the Light Rail in Tel Aviv and the surrounding area will also operate on Shabbat,” Michaeli said Saturday in an interview on Israel’s Channel 2 “Meet the Press” program.

“This is my decision. I reached it after all the considerations that were brought before me, and this is what’s going to happen,” she added.

The decision makes clear precisely where Michaeli, who leads the Labor Party, stands.

Religious Zionism Chairman MK Bezalel Smotrich slammed the decision in a statement Saturday night, warning the decision is a breach of the status quo by an interim government politician.

“Instead of dealing with the transportation catastrophe that all Israeli citizens are suffering from, Rav Michaeli prefers to spread empty slogans,” Smotrich said.

“In the right-wing government that we will establish… we will make sure to cancel any decision that harms the Jewish character of the country and we will preserve the Sabbath and its sanctity as the national day of rest,” he said.

If the decision is approved by the caretaker government, it will also make clear the stance of the entire Lapid coalition.

At present, there are variations in the electoral polls, with some indicating that opposition leader and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be able to put together a right-wing government. Others, however, indicate the upcoming November 1 election will result in another of Israel’s endless stalemates.

Clarification of the anti-Torah stance of the current caretaker government may resolve the deadlock.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.