Shas rabbi: Benizri's judges are heretics
Haredi party's spiritual leader Ovadia Yosef lashes out legal system following decision to aggravate former minister's sentence, send him to jail for four years
Ronen Medzini • Ynet
Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef harshly slammed the legal system on Wednesday following the decision to send former Minister Shlomo Benizri, who was convicted of taking a bribe, to four years in prison. The rabbi referred to the judges in the Benizri trial as "heretics"
"We deeply regret the evil trial given to our active friends, who has always engaged in teaching and praising the Torah," Rabbi Yosef said. "It's a shame that we have such a distorted court. They have no religion, no judgment, they don't believe in anything."
The rabbi's remarks were published by the Kikar Hashabbat website.
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."
Shas Chairman Eli 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.
Last week, Courts Administration Director Moshe Gal asked Attorney General Menachem Mazuz to investigate whether Benizri's brother, David, was in contempt of court for remarks he made against Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy.
In a radio interview, David Benizri slammed the judge, calling him "evil and rude" and applied to him the halachic ruling that anyone making judgments according to law and not the Jewish Law, is "evil, rude and raising his hand to Moses' Torah."
The Post has the quote this way:
Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef lashed out at the Supreme Court on Wednesday for rejecting former minister Shlomo Benizri's appeal to shorten his four-year prison sentence for corruption charges.
"An injustice was done to our friend Shlomo Benizri, who devoted his life to spreading Torah and helping people," Yosef said in a sermon revealed on Channel 2. "The courts are twisted and the judges don't believe in anything. They are apostates."
A rally will be held in Jerusalem on Thursday in support of Benizri, who is set to enter prison to start serving his sentence on September 1.