Discover more from Rationalist Judaism
"Everyone Does It!"
The leader of a religious party justifies repeated crimes.
(Picture from Wikimedia Commons)
The big story in Israel at the moment is Bibi’s government changing the relationship between the judiciary and the legislature - from a bad one with which there is too much judiciary control, into a terrible one with which a government with the slimmest majority can do whatever it wants. But meanwhile, the government also pushed through the “Deri Law,” to ensure that Aryeh Deri can be appointed minister despite his second criminal conviction from which he escaped prison via a plea deal which he reneged upon. I noticed an interview with Deri in which he was directly asked what he thinks about the propriety of his returning to public office in light of his crimes. He replied as follows:
"There is no citizen in the State of Israel who, if they had applied on him the test that they did to me for six years, would not have been found guilty of such offenses of failure to report. There is no one like that. I have nothing to take stock of. I take stock of myself in front of the Master of the Universe."
It’s astonishing that he can say such a thing.
First of all, it is simply not true that everybody fails to report income. There are many people who are actually honest citizens and are scrupulous about it - even though they are not figures in public office, representing religious Judaism. Either Deri is lying (again), or he really does not know any such people - in which case it is quite an indictment of the sort of people in his social circle.
Second, Deri didn’t just fail to report income. He actively lied and falsified documents in order to cheat on his taxes!
It’s just remarkable that Deri is not ashamed to express no shame about his crimes. He claims that he only holds himself accountable to God - as if God doesn’t care about stealing from public coffers. And the entire government coalition is evidently perfectly happy for someone who repeatedly steals from public coffers, and expresses no regrets about it, to be a minister in charge of public coffers.
The chillul Hashem with this government, the “most religious in the history of Israel,” never stops. I was speaking today with a secular Israeli who just couldn’t understand why there aren’t more religious Jews speaking out against it. Those of us who are against it need to make sure that we speak out.
Rationalist Judaism is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.