Transportation Minister Israel Katz responded this week to Israelis demanding public transport on Saturdays and holidays, telling them they should address their complaints to Zionist Union chairman Isaac Herzog instead.
A Facebook protest encouraged Israelis to take to Katz's Facebook page and express their anger at the fact there is no public transportation in Israel on Saturdays and holidays.
"This year we got a particularly long weekend," Omri Hazut wrote in a post on Katz's page. "The seventh day of Passover is on Thursday, and the last night is Friday. From Thursday afternoon until Saturday night, there will be no public transportation!"
Katz dismissed the comment, implying that it was politically motivated: "I will address this matter once. Tell (Isaac) Buji Herzog to commit not to sit in a government that won't change the status quo. The display of hypocrisy by you and your friends on the left ... was proven in the last elections and got the appropriate response at the polls."
Hazut refused to back down. "I belong to the Rav-Kav (electronic ticket) owners' party," he wrote. "This is a party of people who use public transportation their whole lives and depend on it, just like vehicle owners depend on their vehicles. The answer that your Facebook page's moderator chose to express (I very much hope that your honor didn't formulate such a terrible response himself), simply doesn't refer to the substance of the matter. What does this have to do with Herzog? Is he in any kind of role? Is he the transportation minister? Is he prime minister?"
Katz continued to accuse Hazut of political motives. "I read your comments on the prime minister on the page and your political opinions are clear," he wrote. "Because you are being disingenuous, I will clarify the issue again. The status quo about the Shabbat has been enshrined in legislation since the country was founded as well as in political agreements, and has nothing to do with the transportation minister's personal policy. No party committed not to sit in a government without the status quo being changed. Form a party in the next election and ask for the public's trust, and meanwhile stop the display of hypocrisy."
"Public transportation works according to the status quo existing since Israel's founding, in all governments over the years," the Transportation Ministry said in a statement.
"Those demanding that public transport run on Saturdays and holidays do not represent the majority of public transport users, but rather foundations and groups mostly associated with the left and systematically working against the government, as we saw in the last elections. It's puzzling that not one of these groups has complained to left wing parties, which haven't said even one word that they won't sit in a government that won't allow public transportation on Saturdays and holidays."
This was not the first time that the minister had a cynical response to a complaint. In January, Malka Haham, whose two children were killed on a road that causes many fatalities, wanted to ask Katz why the accident occurred. Katz told her to "focus on your grief because I'm busy right now". The minister did not take back this statement, claiming that he said it to prevent Haham from being exploited by people he thought wanted to escape responsibility.