Photo: Dan Balilty
Shas MK Benizri
Photo: Dan Balilty

On shaky ground

Shas MK blames gays for quakes, but his party’s corruption may be real cause

It’s acknowledged that the Gay Pride Parade shakes up Manhattan every year, but never to the magnitude of 5.3 on the Richter scale. Yet that’s exactly what Shas Knesset Member Shlomo Benizri touted as the cause of Israel’s earthquake this past week: "homosexual activity practiced in the country.”


But, perhaps, Benizri shouldn't say it too loudly or Iran’s President Ahmadinejad might overhear and find cause to wipe Israel off the map; for, in his country, by his account, there are no homosexuals. But oddly, there are still earthquakes, such as the one of December 26, 2003 with a magnitude of 6.6 that killed 15,000 people - all were hapless homosexuals, I presume.


Oh, by the way, Mr. Benizri. My name, Aliza, means gay in Hebrew. Should I be quaking in my shoes?


Indeed, our ancient Jewish texts do speak of such things as floods and famines, hailstorms and maelstroms as punishment for human corruption and misbehavior. So while you're pointing the finger and citing the Gemara Mr. Benizri, why stop with gays? Perhaps Israel is on “shaky ground” because your religious party, which is supposed to stand on a moral, ethical ground, has been mired in scandal after scandal after the indictment and subsequent conviction and imprisonment of your former party leader, Aryeh Deri.


Or perhaps others in your party have tickled the Richter scale as well, including Raphael Pinhasi, Yair Lev, Ofer Hugi and Yair Peretz, who have all been convicted of offenses including fraud and forgery. Or are the Knesset walls now trellised with rosebuds because of your own indictment and charges by the State Prosecutor's Office for accepting bribes and breaching the public trust?


Knesset bullies 

Perhaps Israel is on shaky ground because Shas continuously jeopardizes the coalition of every sitting prime minister if it doesn't like what it hears. They’ve become the Knesset bullies, granting themselves veto power over major decisions by constantly threatening to pull out of governments.


Perhaps the one most feeling the aftershock of Benizri’s remarks is Ehud Olmert. He’s likely stunned that finally something happened for which he isn’t getting blamed.


If as people of faith we Jews really do look to the universe for signs, then we should focus on the fact that the last strong quake that hit Israel on February 11, 2004 left a crack in the ceiling of the Knesset plenum, Israel's parliament, not a gay bar, not long before lawmakers were scheduled to take their seats for the day's debates.


The lesson is clear: Those who convene in a cracked Knesset shouldn't throw stones.


Aliza Davidovit is a writer, author, journalist and former TV producer with a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University. Davidovit hosts her own website: 


פרסום ראשון: 02.22.08, 16:17
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