Stand By Your Ex-Con

The resident ex-con in the Netanyahu cabinet is once again under investigation for corruption, but the prime minister is standing by his man. 

Aryeh Deri, who went to jail following his 1999 conviction for bribery and fraud as interior minister, was given back old job earlier this year by Benjamin Netanyahu.  And Guess what. 

The man who dipped his hand in the government cookie jar is once again at the center of a criminal scandal.  Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit ordered police to open a new investigation of Deri last month for possible illegal monetary activities.

And the PM doesn't even suspend him.  He can't.  The convicted felon could retaliate by bringing down the government because he heads Shas, a party of religious extremists whose votes Netanyahu needs to stay in power.  After all, that's how he got a second go at running the Interior Ministry in January. 

Investigators are also questioning Deri's brother, Shlomo, in connection with the corruption case.  The Jerusalem Post said Shlomo Deri "is suspected of committing…severe corruption offenses."

The Movement for Quality Government in Israel said 75,000 people have signed its petition to stop the convicted felon from serving at interior ministry.  

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.