Religion Magazine

Good for Litzman

By Gldmeier @gldmeier

good for Yaakov Litzman, following his rebbe's instructions and resigning from the government because of the chilul shabbos. Whether or not it is the right move, from a social perspective does not matter - the Haredi parties say they are beholden to the wishes of their various rabbonim, and this is what his rav told him to do. The question is why now - the chilul shabbos has been going on forever it never before prevented the haredi parties from joining the coalition, nor did it prevent Litzman from accepting the job of minister when the Supreme Court said he must. What changed now that it has come to this now at this point?
While the Admor of Gur's decision, and Litzman's follow through, is not binding on the other Haredi ministers and MKs, whether from the same faction, party or whatever, I cannot see how they can sit aside and let him resign over chilul shabbos and they would remain in the government. They will lose any respect they still have and be seen as less concerned about shabbos. Whether it happens immediately or within the next few days, it has to happen.
And even if they do not do it n their own, or the rabbis instructing them do not require it immediately, at some point the public outcry will be great enough that they will have to. similar to what happened with the Kotel agreement.
The interesting thing, to me, is that this makes Yair Lapid somewhat responsible for the fall of two governments, assuming this will bring about elections in the near future, which has yet to be seen. His demands and threats in the previous government led Netanyahu to firing him and calling new elections. And after the elections, Lapid brought Litzman's deputy situation to the Supreme Court that led to the decision "forcing" Litzman to become minister, which led to the situation that Litzman would not any longer agree to be partially responsible for chilul shabbos and resign from the government. This was probably Lapid's most successful move, especially from the Opposition.
I would point out some possible sort of conspiracy the news media sites are mentioning that might be worth considering. They point to how calm Netanyahu has been about this. They point to how Likud leaders have publicly pointed out very energetically at every opportunity that there was chilul shabbos and Litzman's threats could not stop that. They point to the fact that Netanyahu is holding on to the Health Ministry  portfolio for now, and keeping Litzman's staff in place - in the hope that Litzman will either return or at least return in some capacity. It seems they think this too is a manufactured crisis - Netanyahu needs to keep Lapid at bay and giving in to Litzman on this would boost Lapid's popularity in the general public and hurt the Likud. So, the Likud gains from this resignation and Lapid does not. Is this true? I have no idea. The problem with it is that nobody knows where it will end and if it will play out as its engineers expected, and that is a big risk to take.
Another point is that Litzman resigned from his position as Minister of Health, but he has not pulled his seat out of the coalition or resigned from the Knesset, so really nothing changed, yet, except for his ministerial position and the level of responsibility he thinks he has for the chilul shabbos. I would note that being that the only real threat to the coalition and defense of Shabbos is if he, and UTJ, and others perhaps, pull out of the coalition.Staying in the coalition and letting it all continue is not really defending the sanctity of Shabbos.
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