(JNS) Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu rejected criticism that his coalition will pursue a right-wing extremist agenda.
During a Knesset plenum, Netanyahu said, “Everyone will live in accordance with their own faith. This will not become a nation of religious law. It will be a country in which we tend to all citizens of Israel, without exception. … We were elected to lead in our way, the way of the nationalist-right and the way of the liberal-right, and that’s what we’ll do.”
Netanyahu’s coalition, which includes ultra-Orthodox religious parties, came under fire when a list of demands by United Torah Judaism (UTJ) came to light earlier this week. They urged enforcing government restrictions on Shabbat, including halting electricity production.
Lod Mayor Yair Revivo defended the idea. “I’ll give you the scoop: There isn’t enough electricity in the country, especially on the Sabbath and religious holidays,” he said. “It’s a shame that those people who usually champion ‘green’ causes are instead fighting the charedim on this one.”
UTJ also asked for more gender-segregated beaches and other concessions that would largely benefit the ultra-Orthodox population.
Netanyahu said, “I want to reassure you: There is and will be electricity on the Sabbath. There will be beaches for everyone. We will maintain the status quo.”