JERUSALEM – Israel’s health minister who heads a powerful ultra-Orthodox political party in Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition has resigned after the country’s railways carried out maintenance work on the Sabbath, which is strictly prohibited by Jewish law.
Ultra-Orthodox parties have provided Netanyahu with support to stabilize his coalition, while the government carves out large budgets for their community.
Yaakov Litzman said on Sunday that he resigned because of public violations of the holy day. He said the weekend maintenance work on the railway was not warranted.
It’s not clear how this impacts Netanyahu’s government as Litzman’s party, United Torah Judaism, is remaining in the coalition.
The issue of desecration of the Sabbath have triggered crisis in the past. Much of Israel comes to a halt at sundown Friday for the Sabbath.