Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) admitted that the controversial Supermarket Law will not be enforced, two days after Deri threatened to bring down the government if its passage was not ensured.
On Tuesday, the Knesset passed the "Supermarket Law”, which grants the Interior Minister the powers to disqualify municipal bylaws promoted by the local authorities, effectively enabling the minister to shut down supermarkets that had been operating on the Sabbath with permission from the local authority.
Deri had strongly pushed for the bill, even reportedly threatening to bolt the coalition if the law was not passed. On Wednesday however, Deri changed his tune, telling the Yediot Ahronotnewspaper that the law will not be enforced.
"I cannot and do not intend to enforce this law. Every citizen or resident should deal with this law in his city. If none of the residents of Givatayim are bothered about the supermarkets, then fine. I don’t intend to interfere," said Deri.
"The interior minister has no powers of enforcement. I cannot close down shops on Shabbat,” continued Deri, who denied that the Supermarket Law amounted to religious coercion.
"We did not initiate any religious legislation. Write this down five times. I really don’t need this law because I know that religious and legislative coercion does not achieve anything. I did not initiate, and neither did the Haredi parties, the Supermarkets Law," alleged Deri.
“I cannot and do not intend to enforce this law. Every citizen or resident should deal with this law in his city. If none of the residents of Givatayim are bothered about the supermarkets, then fine. I don’t intend to interfere,” he stated.