Sabbath transport crisis resolved

Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.

Rabbi Michael Melchior, Israel's minister for Diaspora relations and social affairs, initiated the plan. On Sunday, Melchoir said he actually prefers to find a better solution.

United Torah Judaism Knesset member Moshe Gafni accused anti-religious elements in government of propelling the controversy.

"In the past, in previous governments, we went quietly, without a fuss and raised our objections, and hundreds of transfers were made during the middle of the week," Gafni said on Israel Radio.

For his part, Yosef "Tommy" Lapid, the head of the secularist Shinui Party, was pleased. "I'm happy that the rule of law has beaten out the rule of the rabbis," he said.

Commentators have suggested that the controversy derived from internal power struggles within Shas — and that it was also an attempt by Shas, which now controls the Labor Ministry, to flex its political muscle.

The third religious political party in the coalition, the National Religious Party, has distanced itself from the turbine controversy.

"All they have succeeded in doing is further stirring up anti-religious sentiment. We now have people applauding the turbine on overpasses," Deputy Minister of Education Shaul Yahalom said on Israel Radio. "For me, the turbine is not the issue. I am disturbed by the huge shopping centers which are open on the Sabbath, where people are engaging in commerce. This is what is important."