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Op-Ed: Shas Should Be Ashamed

Shas has changed its opinions along with its coalition fate. This writer will have none of it.
Published: Saturday, March 09, 2013 9:57 PM


Wearing a kippa or sporting a beard is not enough to make one “religious”.  It simply means you are wearing a kippa and a beard, for truly religious people have values and beliefs – a core value system which stands for something.

Frankly, it seems to me that the hareidi political parties care only about power – and nothing else.

To my mind, Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid said it best in the last few days:  “No matter what ideology won the last election – Left, Right, socialist, capitalist, two-state solution or whole Land of Israel – the hareidim are always willing to be in the coalition. Did someone change the law and didn’t tell us? Can a government be formed with the Likud, without Labor, without Kadima, without Meretz, without Arab parties, without any party at all, but the haredim always have to be in the government, otherwise you’re boycotting and rejecting them?”

And he is simply so right – and now that ideologues Lapid and Naftali Bennett of Habayit Hayehudi have outmaneuvered the ultra-orthodox parties and Netanyahu, one sees Shas vowing to punish the settlements.  As they threatened in the media this week, once the new coalition is announced Shas will "launch an offensive the likes of which Israeli politics has not seen in ages."

The “offensive” Shas refers to wouldn’t be the criminal convictions in the last 10 years of many of their MK’s including Aryeh Deri, Rafael Pinhasi, Yair Levy, Ofer Hugi, and Yair Peretz, and Shlomo Benizri.  That is indeed offensive – as is their conduct on many matters through the years.

Now that Shas has seemingly been shut out of the government, they have seemingly had an epiphany that the "settlements" are bad. Yakov Margi of Shas said monies should be cut from “...all the funds that go to communities beyond the Green Line [in Judea and Samaria]...”, and radio commentators Yaakov Rivlin and Avi Bloom called for a boycott of all products from the "settlements".

MK Yitzhak Cohen of Shas says “they are responsible for all this burden when it comes to defense, foreign affairs and the economy. Migron [the largest illegal outpost until its dismantling last year] is a burden; [the illegally constructed Beit El neighborhood] Givat Ha'ulpana, where houses are now being taken apart, costs the state millions; this is both an economic and security burden.”

Amazingly, had they been in the government they would have never had these beliefs – and one wonders if the Shas voter in Kiryat Malachi really supports these viewpoints.

Of course, it’s the same party that said the Jewish Home party is “…not a home for Jews; it is a home of goyim.” They also said in reference to the Jewish Home:  “They are all wicked, haters of Torah and mitzvot.”

Of course, if they were today to join the government these “religious” people would go on day and night about the greatness of settlements and the Jewish Home party – as long as they get their Volvos and money.

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a leading PR firm.