Rabbi Yosef to the rescue
Photo: Guy Assayag
Benizri. To begin jail term on September 1
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Shas rabbi: Benizri's judges are heretics

Haredi party's spiritual leader Ovadia Yosef lashes out at legal system following decision to aggravate former minister's sentence, send him to jail for four years

Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef harshly slammed the legal system on Wednesday following the decision to send former Minister Shlomo Benizri, who was convicted of taking a bribe, to four years in prison. The rabbi referred to the judges in the Benizri trial as "heretics".


"We deeply regret the evil trial given to our active friends, who has always engaged in teaching and praising the Torah," Rabbi Yosef said. "It's a shame that we have such a distorted court. They have no religion, no judgment, they don't believe in anything."


The rabbi's remarks were published by the Kikar Hashabbat website.


Benizri was convicted of taking a bribe from contractor Moshe Sela during his tenure as labor and welfare minister. The former minister received many benefits from the contractor, from large sums of money, through electric appliances, to cleaning services.


About a month ago, Supreme Court judges aggravated the former Shas minister's sentence after he was convicted of taking a bribe. Justice Edmond Levy explained that "the increasing corruption in the Israeli government institutions requires us to do something by setting a higher price tag."

Shas Chairman Eli Yishai recently sent a letter to President Shimon Peres, asking him to pardon the former minister. "As a public figure, as a member of the Sephardic community, and as the deputy prime minister, I believe there is no other request for mercy which is more justified," the Shas chairman wrote on behalf of his party.


Last week, Courts Administration Director Moshe Gal asked Attorney General Menachem Mazuz to investigate whether Benizri's brother, David, was in contempt of court for remarks he made against Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy. 


In a radio interview, David Benizri slammed the judge, calling him "evil and rude" and applied to him the halachic ruling that anyone making judgments according to law and not the Jewish Law, is "evil, rude and raising his hand to Moses' Torah."


פרסום ראשון: 08.19.09, 21:23
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