Former Minister Benizri
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Rabbi Shlomo Amar

Chief rabbi to pray for Benizri

Rabbi Shlomo Amar, Shas ministers and movement's rabbis to take part Thursday in prayer and protest rally in Jerusalem in support of former minister sentenced to four years in prison

A prayer and protest rally is expected to be held Thursday at the Or Hachayim yeshiva in Jerusalem in support of former Minister Shlomo Benizri (Shas), who was convicted of taking a bribe and sentenced to four years in prison.


Leaflets inviting the public to the rally were distributed on the streets earlier this week, with the organizers promising a speech by Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar and a broadcast of and address by Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.


Other rabbis and Benizri himself are also expected to speak at the rally, with the former minister delivering "an ardent sermon straight out of his heart." Shas ministers, including Chairman Eli Yishai, are all expected to take part in the event.


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.


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."


פרסום ראשון: 08.20.09, 07:14
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