Dudi Weissman, owner of the 24/7 chain store AM:PM decided to fire CEO Oded Blum Friday, after the latter sanctioned the employment of Jewish workers during Yom Kippur.
Branches of AM:PM, which are regularly open on Shabbat, were meant to be closed on Yom Kippur, like other Israeli franchises. However, the chain opted to employ security workers to guard the stores, some of whom were Jewish.
Pursuant to this act, the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry opened an investigation against the chain for breaking labor laws regarding days of rest.
These laws restrict the employment of workers on Shabbat and holidays (only restaurants and social locations are allowed to remain open) and prohibit completely the employment of workers on Yom Kippur.
It should be noted, however, that AM:PM was not the only store in Tel Aviv to employ security guards on the holy day.
Weissman told Ynet that "employing Jews on Yom Kippur goes against my faith and my worldview and my family traditions. The explanations I received from the managers of the chain do not ameliorate the severity of the situation."
"I will work to ensure that such an incident does not repeat itself and, unfortunately, will fire CEO Oded Blum, despite the fact that he has demonstrated excellent management skills prior to now," he said.
"I apologize on behalf of the chain. The stores often suffer from theft on Yom Kippur, which is why the chain made the faulty decision to employ workers on Yom Kippur. Despite the fact that the original plan was to employ non-Jewish workers, this does not make the final outcome less severe," he added.
In response, Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Eli Yishai (Shas) said "the ministry has opened an investigation into the matter and will conclude it with all possible haste. This is a severe blow to the holiness of Israel."
The AM:PM franchise, which was acquired by Weissman two years ago, has already bore the brunt of severe criticism because it is open on Shabbat.
Weissman, whose Blue Square group also owns the Shefa Shuk grocery chain, has come head to head with religious groups in Israel.
Based on a rabbinical ordinance, the Orthodox community in Israel decided to boycott Shefa Shuk stores, leading to a 10% decrease in sales in these stores. This naturally served to the great advantage of competitor Nochi Dankner, who owns the Shupersal grocery chain.