Transformer relocation
Photo: Yaron Brener
Infrastructure Minister Benyamin Ben-Eliezer
Photo: Yaron Brener
Photo: Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry Spokesperson
Shas leader Eliyahu Yishai
Photo: Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry Spokesperson

Shas irked by Israel Electric Shabbat work

Ynet has learnt that Israel Electric Corps moved a transformer to Ashkelon power station overnight Saturday; deed could destabilize government as religious parties would balk at Olmert's coalition advances

What would the Haredim say about that? An Israel Electric Corps transformer weighing 220 tons was relocated to a power station in Ashkelon overnight Saturday, a move that could position Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in an embarrassing situation with religious parties.


In 2000 United Torah Judaism resigned from prime minister Ehud Barak's coalition in protest at the transportation of a superheater during Shabbat.

Transformer relocated (Photo: Ofer Amram)


Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eliyahu Yishai of Shas, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's only coalition partner, responded to Ynet's report saying that "Shabbat is stronger than any government."


The minister said the deed was a clear desecration of Shabbat. "The Israel Electric Corps destroyed the sanctity of Shabbat thinking the issue won't be exposed. The transformer could have been relocated during the week at night or on Friday afternoon," he said.


Yishai added that Infrastructure Minister Benyamin Ben-Eliezer was unaware of plans to relocate the transformer during Shabbat.


Yishai said: "Ben-Eliezer was unaware of the Shabbat desecration and he condemned it unequivocally." He said that Ben-Eliezer promised to take punitive actions against officials who approved the relocation.  


Israel Electric confirmed to Ynet that the transformer was moved on Saturday following police recommendations that it is not removed during the week to avoid causing traffic congestions.


Police cruisers escorted a heavy truck carrying the transformer on Motorway 4.

Relocation could lead Shas to leave coalition (Photo: Ofer Amram)


"Moving heavy equipment during Shabbat is conducted every now and then under police instructions," Israel Electric Dadi Golan told Ynet.


A senior official at Israel Electric was asked who in the police approves the removals and said: "We do not deal with this. We submit a request to the police and act according to regulations. There is no need for approval from the appointed minister."


MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) responded to Ynet's report stating that his party intended to extend a subsequent no-confidence motion.


"I call upon Shas to leave the government or receive a promise that this will not happen again," he said.


Avi Cohen contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 11.04.06, 18:53
 new comment
This will delete your current comment