Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said Wednesday he is against conducting the Eurovision preparations on the Jewish rest day, but acknowledged that "he knows where he lives."
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has sent an official letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanding him to guarantee the government would not interfere in the contents of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest planned to be held in Israel.
The EBU posed an additional two demands according to which Eurovision fans would not be banned from entering the contest based on their political opinions, religion, or sexual orientation and that the preparations for the contest would be held on Shabbat.
Addressing the aforementioned demands, Deri said in an Ynet interview, “generally speaking, our borders are open. However, if anyone tries to use this in order to hurt Israel, he would be stopped.”
“I will not accept Shabbat becoming a work day for social events organizers, since it hurts the working class. They will then have no rest days and will work seven days a week like slaves," Deri elaborated.
“The fact that recreational activities like visiting cafes, cinemas, restaurants and the Eurovision are taking place on Shabbat hurts me as a Jewish individual, but I know where I live.”
Residents of south Tel Aviv rallied in the streets on Thursday evening in a display of anger over the government’s failure to fulfill promises made last year to rid the area of illegal African migrants, with some protesters burning pictures of
“I am not hurt, neither in body nor in spirit”, said Deri. “and I will participate in the opening of the Shas municipal campaign headquarters in south Tel Aviv.”
“Whoever did this”, he continued, “was a provocateur, that was his aim, he wanted attention, that’s all. The people of south Tel Aviv are our public, these are conservative people who know my work.”
Deri also addressed the asylum seekers issue, and the deal with third-party countries to accept them that collapsed earlier this year. “From the day I took office, not even a single infiltrator has crossed the border. 1,700 have left in recent months.”
“Close to 20,000 have already left on their own accord, and the third-party agreement, which I worked hard for and was approved by the Supreme Court, collapsed due to international pressures on the receiving countries,” Deri elucidated.
When asked about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement according to which he predicts 40 mandates for the Likud party on the next elections and its effect on Shas, Deri said, “Praise the lord, we are only rising in popularity.
"Netanyahu is the prime minister and leader of the Likud and we want him as a leader and he will have our support.
"However, Shas will guarantee to take care of all Likud voters who seek traditional Judaism and aspire for a country that caters for the needs of the weak and the transparent," the interior minister said.
According to Deri, “a strong Likud party means a further weakening of the poor population, and that means a less Jewish state. Only a strong Shas alongside Netanyahu will guarantee that he takes care of things as (the conservatives) want.”
“We don’t want Yair Lapid to form a government with Netanyahu instead of Shas and United Torah Judaism. Last time this happened, Lapid and Netanyahu’s government attempted to erase a 70-year-old Israeli status quo,” he added.
“I don’t aspire to be the prime minister or minister of foreign affairs, I have other commitments. My greatest responsibility after the death of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is to keep representing his public and continue his life’s work. This is what keeps me going.”
One of the things endangering this government is early elections amid the controversial Draft Law. According to Deri, “the Draft Law will not end this government since the coalition agrees on it.”