World Bulletin / News Desk
The Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) on Tuesday passed a controversial legislation limiting trade on the Jewish Sabbath.
Passed by 58-57 votes, the law allows the interior ministry to nullify municipal bylaws allowing businesses to open on Saturdays.
The law, proposed by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri of the Ultra-Orthodox Shas Party, was approved after a marathon debate in parliament.
The final version of the bill requires businesses looking to operate on Sabbath to get permission from the interior minister.
The law, however, exempts oil stations, restaurants, cafes and cinemas from the ban.
The law has been criticized by secular parties in Israel.
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog said the law “causes severe harm and has bad intentions”.
“Only because someone is trying to save his political life, he adds the causes of conflict and disagreement," he said, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
On Monday, Netanyahu chastised coalition members who threatened to vote against the bill, warning that if the proposed law failed to pass, the government could be toppled.
Under their religious beliefs, Jews are forbidden from doing works on Saturday.
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