Aryeh Deri’s supporters can protest until they are blue in the face that their idol is innocent. They did so when he was convicted in 1999 of bribery, fraud and breach of trust and sentenced to three years imprisonment, but the facts tell a different story.
Unfortunately, Deri didn’t learn the lesson and mend his ways. In 2018 he found himself once again accused of similar crimes, and managed to get away in a plea bargain with having committed a tax offense by failing to report the true value of a property he sold to his brother.
One remembers how Yitzhak Rabin resigned as prime minister in 1977 when it was revealed that he and his wife had held a foreign bank account, which was illegal at the time. However, Deri has no shame. Otherwise, he would have left politics long ago.
His supporters have argued that 400,000 people voted for Shas, but as Justice Alex Stein rightly pointed out, that may entitle Deri to be a member of Knesset, but does not mean that he is necessarily fit to be a government minister.
Aryeh Deri is doing a disservice to himself, his party, the government, the Torah, Jewish values and Israel’s international standing as a country of law and order by remaining in office.
Prime Minister Netanyahu would be doing Israel’s political system and judiciary a favor, were he to carry out the injunction in Deuteronomy 17:7: “You shall burn out the evil from your midst.”