The mayor of Giv'atayim, Ran Kunik, strongly criticized Interior Minister Aryeh Deri on Monday after Deri’s refusal to approve municipal bylaws that would allow the opening of businesses on Shabbat.
"If the interior minister is a hero and a steadfast against opening a business on Shabbat, why does he choose selectively? Let’s see him close everything down,” Kunik said.
The Interior Ministry informed four local authorities, including Giv'atayim, Sunday that Deri had invalidated their bylaws allowing the opening of businesses on Shabbat.
Talking to Ynet, Kunik added: “We intend to take this battle as far as necessary and we will not allow a situation in which stores and cafes in Giv'atayim that have been open on Shabbat for many years will have to close. This law is religious coercion. The religious citizens of Giv'atayim, who are traditional and pragmatic and love the city as it is do not want to force anything on the secular public.
"Regarding the municipal bylaw, we drafted it in a limited way so as not to harm the religious, and we defined exactly which businesses would be opened — a specific quota whose entire purpose is to preserve the existing situation.
"The matter here is not only the enforcement, we oppose the Interior Ministry's interference," Kunik said. He then accused Deri of acting selectively.
“Why are there football games on Shabbat? Why are the theaters open on Shabbat? Why is it permitted to open restaurants? Let’s see him close it all down. If he is not capable then he should just let the municipalities decide for themselves,” Kunik continued.
Konick rejected the claims that the heads of local councils were exploiting the struggle against the Supermarkets Law for political purposes ahead of local elections, and pointed an accusing finger at Deri: "The one who raised the matter was Deri, who thought Knesset elections were imminent. Why did he awake now? I would not have altered the local bylaw had Deri not enacted the Supermarkets Law,” he asserted.
"I said to Deri, 'You murdered and also inherited?' He made a mistake and apparently does not know how to get off his high branch, He remains stuck with a law that he thought would serve his political agenda ahead of the elections and it turns out that there are no upcoming elections,” said Kunik.