Political Drama: Yaakov Litzman Resigns In Protest Of Lockdown Over Yamim Noraim

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (l) holds a situation assessment meeting with then-Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, Feb. 23, 2020. (AP) / Jack Guez)

Housing and Construction Minister Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) resigned as minister on Sunday in protest of the anticipated lockdown over the Yamim Noraim.

“My heart is with the thousands of Jews who attend shul once a year and this year won’t come at all due to the lockdown,” Litzman wrote in his resignation letter he sent to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday morning. “I warned against a lockdown during the Chagim in every possible forum and stressed that if there is a need for a full lockdown, it shouldn’t wait for the rise of infection to reach this rate.”

Litzman claimed that a lockdown should have been implemented a month ago instead of during the Chagim and the government failed to do because it would ruin summer vacation for Israeli tourists. He added that when the Chareidi MKs requested to receive answers about shuls opening on the Yamim Tovim they were turned down while the government was meanwhile opening flights to tourist destinations.

Finally, Litzman said that a lockdown should have been implemented ten days ago when the government first annouced that the health system was overwhelmed instead of waiting for Erev Rosh Hashanah.

Subcribe to The Jewish Link Eblast

Litzman accused coronavirus czar Prof. Ronni Gamzu of deliberately planning to wait for Rosh Hashanah to impose a lockdown.

Litzman’s position is opposed by the other Chareidi MKs, even those within his own party of Agudas Yisrael, who believe that the current time, with coronavirus infection rates at record levels as well as the draft law and the budget for yeshivos hanging in the balance, is not the appropriate time for resignation.
According to a report by Chadrei B’Chareidim, Agudas Yisrael representatives said that Litzman’s move was done without coordination with representatives of the party and that “Litzman doesn’t have the mandate to resign and cause damage to the entire party.”

Litzman is resigning as a minister and will return to being a member of the Knesset according to the Norwegian Law, which means that MK Eliyahu Baruchi, who is number 10 on the UTJ list and entered the Knesset in June after Litzman’s and Transportation Minister Uri Maklev’s resignation, will now have to leave as soon as Litzman’s resignation becomes official.

The UTJ party will remain in the coalition and Litzman’s resignation is not expected to have a significant effect on the current government.

Finance Minister Yaakov Katz, Economy Minister Amir Peretz (Labor), Science & Technology Minister Izhar Shay (Blue and White), and Tourism Minister Asaf Zamir (Blue and White) have also expressed their opposition to the lockdown due to the devastating effect it will have on the economy.

However, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said on Motzei Shabbos that there would be no negotiations regarding the lockdown.

(The Yeshiva World News Israel Desk – Jerusalem).


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here