Speaking to Israel Radio on Tuesday, Israel’s Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis said that the Likud Party under Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would not lend a hand to turning Israel into a state governed by Jewish law.

“If there is a need, we will carry out [infrastructure] work on Shabbat,” said Akunis. “There will be work on Shabbat to avoid inconveniencing the tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians who need to use the trains. This is not a violation of the status quo.”

Turning to a controversial bill that would make conscription of ultra-Orthodox yeshivah students mandatory, Akunis said, “We absolutely intend to see more and more haredim enlisting in the IDF—and incidentally, that’s already happening. The Likud, including myself, see IDF service as a most important value. We are in a dispute with the haredim about it, true, but we’ll continue to integrate them, and eventually, in my opinion it will benefit them. I’m in favor of full service for everyone.”

Akunis said that even if Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman repeated his “lie” about a “state run by Jewish law” every time he discusses the September election, “it still wouldn’t make it true.”

“Israel under the Likud headed by Netanyahu—and not only under Netanyahu—has always been a Jewish, democratic state. Not a state run by Jewish law. That’s how it will continue to be,” said Akunis.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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