Factory worker said fired after she criticized Liberman as he toured premises
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Factory worker said fired after she criticized Liberman as he toured premises

Ex-employee at glassworks that faced closure after ultra-Orthodox boycott over Shabbat kiln operation reportedly accused Yisrael Beytenu head of only visiting due to elections

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Yisrael Beytenu leader MK Avigdor Liberman seen during an party election campaign conference in Tel Aviv on July 30, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/ Flahs90)
Yisrael Beytenu leader MK Avigdor Liberman seen during an party election campaign conference in Tel Aviv on July 30, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/ Flahs90)

A factory worker was reportedly fired shortly after she heckled MK Avigdor Liberman when he toured a glass works in the southern city of Yeruham, Channel 13 TV news reported Wednesday.

Employees at the Phoenicia factory said the woman had shouted criticism at the Yisrael Beytenu leader, accusing him of only visiting the site in order to drum up votes for the coming September 17 elections but of having abandoned the workers when the factory faced closure earlier this year due to a boycott of its products by a major ultra-Orthodox sect.

Liberman, who has made the championing of secular rights in the face of religious coercion a central plank of his election platform, did not respond and continued with his tour, the report said.

The woman, a veteran employee of over ten years, was later summoned to a hearing in which she was told her behavior did not align with factory standards and was fired.

View of the Phoenicia Flat Glass factory in the southern town of Yeruham, August 13, 2016. (Moshe Shai/FLASh90)

Although the worker herself refused to comment or verify the events, factory sources confirmed the story, Channel 13 reported.

The Histadrut workers union said in a statement it “takes a serious view of the summoning to a hearing and suspension of the worker” and vowed to provide her with all necessary assistance.

Earlier this year the Gur ultra-Orthodox sect, the largest Hasidic sect in the country, boycotted Phoenicia and instructed its members to not buy any items that use its bottles because the factory operates an oven on Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest.

Phoenicia, which provides bottles for the food industry, said the boycott would eventually result in the loss of some 160 jobs due to a drop in demand for its products. Negotiations were held to try and resolve the dispute.

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