Hillel Fendel of Arutz 7 reports that National Religious Party [NRP] MK Zevulun Orlev claims to have 56% public support for his recently introduced, Sabbath-Sunday Bill.
"Orlev's bill would change the official approach to Sabbath as the country's day of rest. Though businesses and government offices would continue to be closed, places of entertainment would be permitted to open - and public transportation, now banned in most cities on the Sabbath, would be available for that purpose. The bill stipulates that such transportation and entertainment would be carried out with maximum sensitivity to the religious public."
This has come up before in the Knesseth. Former MK Yosef "Tommy" Lapid of the ardently secular, and now pretty much defunct, Shinu'i Party had proposed this change.
Yes. You DID you read that correctly: The arch-secularists were the last to propose such a bill.
What is Orlev thinking?!
I'll tell you what he is thinking. Recently, the NRP voted to include non-religious party members. At the time I believed that this decision was made out of desperation, in an attempt to revive a dying political party, and to secure their precious seats in Knesseth:
The "National Religious Party: Discuss Amongst Yourselves"
Not only does this blatant act of encouraging public Shabbath desecration support my suspicions, it goes further by showing just how desperate the NRP really is.
Orlev's spokesman, Moshe Inbar confirms this, saying that:
...that lumping the two sectors [religious-zionist and traditional] together is in keeping with the NRP's new policy of "opening its gates" to the traditional community.
The blatant manipulation of the polls to produce a statistically insignificant figure of 56% is irrelevant. This proposed bill reveals even more of the already exposed true colors of the NRP:
What the people want (Read: what will get us re-elected) is more important than what The Almighty wants, following Torah.
Fortunately, Rabbi MK Yitzhak Levy, formerly of the NRP, and now of the National Union Party, remains the voice of reason within the "National Religious Camp," saying that the bill paves the way for further deterioration in the character of the Sabbath in the State of Israel.
This reveals something else, which those of you who have been paying attention have already been noticing for the past several years:
There are TWO "National Religious Camps," not one, one which cares about Torah, and holds it in place where it should be held, above Israeli, secular law, and another, which,...well...how can say this?...does not, and wants to tell you that "it's a lot more complicated than that."
There's no better word to describe men like MK Zevulun Orlev than a word used in Yiddish:
Well, now that I've put down MK Zevulun Orlev's idiocy from the the perspective of the right, I'll go you one further, and argue from the perspectives of the center and of the left.
Remember how I mentioned that such a bill had been proposed before?
Well, for reasons, right or wrong, then Education Minister Limor Livnat (Likud) adamantly opposed Lapid's bill, suggesting that if a two-day weekend should be created, then it should be Friday-Saturday. Government offices were already moving toward a Friday-Saturday weekend, and schools could easily be adapted to do the same. Friday was already only a half-day in schools. Since the late 1990's some high schools had already begun to opt for longer school days Sunday through Thursday, in exchange for Fridays off.
In fact, then Minister Livnat eventually pushed through a shift for all schools to begin moving toward a Friday-Saturday weekend, arguing that extending the regular school day, and closing schools on the already "half-day" Friday would save millions of sheqqels.
That shift has now almost been completed, and for quite some time, we all thought the former MK Lapid's dream of turning Israel into a "proper," European country was dead.
Then, along came a spider...by the name of Orlev.
From the left, I am very surprised that no one, to the best of my knowledge, has raised the issue of the Muslim work week, in which many take Fridays off. Friday is also a celebratory day in the Muslim calendar. It would make sense to make the Israeli weekend Friday and Saturday, both for pragmatic reasons, and in order to foster unity amongst Jews and Arabs (gag!).
Perhaps Mere"tz Party members are also more concerned with their precious seats in Knesseth, than with their Arab buddies, knowing full well, that your average Israeli on the street is right of center, and couldn't care less about Arabs, and wouldn't even flinch, and maybe even crack a smile, as well as crack open a bottle of champaign, if they were to disappear suddenly.
*Shaigetz - adapted from the Hebrew sheqetz, a reference to creepy-crawly things on four legs as an abomination, not to be eaten (Lev. 11:20-23).