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Haredi MKs join in criticizing Netanyahu over Olympic congratulations on Shabbat

Haredi party leaders Aryeh Deri of Shas, center, and Yaakov Litzman, left, and Moshe Gafni of United Torah Judaism, at a press conference at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on May 6, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Haredi party leaders Aryeh Deri of Shas, center, and Yaakov Litzman, left, and Moshe Gafni of United Torah Judaism, at a press conference at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on May 6, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Ultra-Orthodox party heads follow Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich in criticizing ex-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu for publicly congratulating Linoy Ashram on her Olympic win during Shabbat.

“The Olympic Games are not an act of saving a life, opposition leader is a state post and it’s forbidden to put out a statement desecrating Shabbat,” United Torah Judaism MK Ganfi says, referring to Netanyahu’s current post.

He adds: “I’m happy that the president and prime minister waited until the end of Shabbat, as Mr. Netanyahu should have also done.”

Fellow UTJ MK Yaakov Litzman also censures Netanyahu, saying there was no “real need” for him to put out the statement on Shabbat.

“It’s expected of someone with an official state title to respect the Sabbath day, as the president and prime minister did in this case,” Litzman says.

Shas chief Aryeh Deri says Netanyahu’s release of the statement “hurt a great many Shabbat-observing Jews and hurt his loyal partners for whom the holy Shabbat is very dear to their hearts.”

Deri also says Shabbat is so holy, one can’t desecrate it then ask for forgiveness.

Like Smotrich’s party, UTJ and Shas are allied with Netanyahu’s Likud.

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