Knesset postpones vote on bill to close markets on Shabbat fearing it would not pass


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Knesset vote on controversial legislation that would keep local mini-markets closed on Shabbat was postponed over government coalition fears that it would not have enough votes to pass.

The bill, which was to be voted on Monday, gives discretion to the interior minister in blocking local by-laws that allow grocery stores and mini-markets to stay open on the Sabbath. Aryeh Deri, head of the Sephardic Orthodox Shas party, now holds the post.

Likud lawmaker Yehuda Glick was unable to attend the vote; he attended his wife’s funeral on Monday and began the week of sitting shiva. Deri acknowledged in a tweet early Tuesday to calling the West Bank community rabbi of Otniel, where Glick lives, to find out if there was a way for him to come to the Knesset during the week of visitation to cast his vote.

“If I hurt the feelings of my friend Yehuda, I apologize,” Deri also said in the tweet.

On Monday, Glick called on all Knesset members to stop turning his wife’s death into a political football. Yaffa Glick died six months after suffering a stroke and falling into a coma. She was 51.

“I beg and beseech you not to turn my dear wife’s funeral into something to fight over,” he said in a tweet hours before the funeral. “Please, have more love and positive energies.”

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