Ultra-Orthodox leaders pan Naor's final Shabbat ruling
After outgoing Supreme Court Justice Miriam Naor upholds decision to enable Tel Aviv supermarkets to remain open on Shabbat, Deri accuses courts of 'staging a coup,' while Litzman denounces ‘anti-religious court,’ promises to overturn decision with legislation; secular leaders embrace ruling.
Vacating her post, the decision signified Naor's parting shot against attempts by Haredi parties to shut down operations of shops in the city, with its large secular population.
Naor, who has been the subject of significant criticism in the past for rulings which fall out of sync with religious and right-wing parties, was succeeded Thursday by Esther Hayut.
Describing her final ruling as “disrespectful to Shabbat,” the ultra-Orthodox leader accosted the Supreme Court for being “out of touch with the nation” and accused the High Court of Justice (HCJ) of “staging a coup.”
The longtime proponent of shutting down supermarket operations on Shabbat, Shas leader and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri blasted the decision.
“In this sad moment I can do nothing but quote a loftier office, that of President Reuven Rivlin, who said this week the court orchestrated 'not a revolution but a coup' and this is what this is: a coup," said Deri who submitted the original request for a further appeal following the first verdict.
“This week I agreed with Netanyahu for the speedy advancing of two governmental bills, that would grant the interior minister the necessary powers to preserve the character of the Jewish Shabbat in the public sphere, as is desired by the majority of the public in Israel,” he continued.
Health Minister and leader of the United Torah Judaism party Yaakov Litzman also lamented the HCJ ruling, saying it “is resisting the position of the majority of Israeli people, which sees Shabbat as a day of national rest,” adding that “the observance of Shabbat has constituted a supreme value throughout the generations.
“As is customary for the HCJ, the outgoing president has issued an anti-religious ruling as a ‘farewell note’ that was expected and is common,” Litzman scathed.
“This is a heavy-handed attempt by HCJ judges to harm the Jewish character of the state, while causing a moral injustice and trampling on the rights of thousands of workers whose livelihoods are affected as a result of this ruling, which denies them the right to rest with their families, as is the right of every person.”
Continuing his tirade, Litzman promised to fight the ruling through the Knesset. “There is a shared feeling across the Haredi and religious board that this dam of anti-religion that is being led by the HCJ with these rulings needs to be blocked and I will work to fix this injustice with legislation,” he warned.
On the other end of the spectrum, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman hailed Naor’s decision.
“The decision is correct! There is no reason for the state to harm the fabric of urban Tel Aviv by forcing the city’s residents and the majority of its citizens and Israeli citizens to live a lifestyle that is not in accordance with their will,” he wrote on Twitter.
Zionist Union leader Avi Gabbay issued a similar statement, praising the decision. “We respect the religion, we don’t respect forcing religion. I applaud the outgoing Supreme Court Justice Miriam Naor for her final ruling and wish her successor Esther Hayut all the success.”