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Thursday, October 18, 2012 

A corrupt politician returns to Shas

Aryeh Deri, who was convicted on bribery acceptance charges, got approval to be in the Shas party again by the very rabbinical "mentor" who was quite fine with surrendering Israeli land to the PLO:
After weeks of tension over the future leadership of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, a compromise deal was reached on Wednesday that will see the party running for the Knesset not under one leader, but under the shared triple leadership of current Chairman Eli Yishai, returning founder Aryeh Deri and senior minister Ariel Atias.

It was not clear who would head the party until the last minute, as bitter rivals Yishai and Deri fought to tip party spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who was to make the final decision, in their favor. Deri, the former chairman of the party, who served a 22-month prison term following his corruption conviction, recently completed the required waiting period for returning to politics.

The compromise deal was formulated throughout the day, and toward the evening the party's Council of Torah Sages convened to approve the deal and to welcome Deri back into its ranks. [...]

Following the announcement, politicians across the political spectrum criticized Deri's return to the Shas' leadership. Rabbi Haim Amsallem, who left Shas to establish his own independent party, said, "Shame has clung to the Shas party. I propose bringing back Yair Levy [sentenced to four years in prison for financial irregularities], Shlomo Benizri [sentenced to 18 months in prison for accepting bribes and corruption], Rafael Pinhasi [given a 12-month suspended sentence for illegal transfer of funds], Ofer Hugi [sentenced to two years in prison on several counts of corruption] and all the rest of the Shas convicts."

"Shas has shamed, and continues to shame, the Sephardi public. In Moroccan, it's called ‘Hashouma’ (‘Shame’), which means desecrating God's commandments. The first party to post a convicted criminal at its helm is an ultra-Orthodox party," he said.
Well said. Deri has done only so much to damage Israel more than he's actually helped it, and getting the state to pay taxpayers' money for their yeshivas rather than to earn money themselves is just one of the many ways they've gone about their business the wrong way.

Rabbi Amsalem is right to take issue with their conduct. He's already formed his own party as seen above, and I hope he can make an impact and convince people that his platform is better than that of Shas.

Update: David Lev spoke with Amsalem for Israel National News explains why the leftist media in Israel has been keeping all but quiet about Deri's prior convictions for taking bribes:
“While the media never fails to point out any and every minor infraction of a Hareidi politician, they are being quite charitable to Deri,” said Amsalem. “Deri was the one who signed off on the Oslo Accords and pushed Rabbi Yosef to accept them, so the left has high hopes for him in this election. Deri, they hope, will neutralize Shas, immobilizing it enough to prevent the party from agreeing to quickly – or agreeing at all – to join a government headed by Binyamin Netanyahu.”
Even if Deri doesn't do this, his bid to reenter the Knesset is still unwelcome, and he's never offered a genuine apology for all the damage he's indirectly responsible for. He does not deserve to be a politician.

Update 2: in semi-related news, the moderate Haredi party TOV in Beit Shemesh announced they were leaving Shas mayor Moshe Abutbul's coalition because of his failure to improve the city's educational system. Progress is being made in finding a better candidate for mayor who can challenge Abutbul in the next municipal election.

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