Above: Rabbi Reuven Elbaz
Haredi Party Appoints Convicted Felon To Its Council Of Torah Sages
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
The Sefardi haredi Shas Party’s chairman is a convicted felon – and now a member of its Council of Torah Sages is, too.
Shas’ chairman, Aryeh Deri, was convicted of public corruption over a decade ago and served 22 months in prison, and now the party’s Council of Torah Sages has new member appointed with, it appears, Deri’s blessing – Rabbi Reuven Elbaz.
Elbaz heads the Ohr Chaim network of yeshivas and is very active in the ba’al teshuvah (adult ‘returnee’ to haredi Judaism) community.
But Elbaz was also convicted of public corruption several years ago, for negotiating bribes for public officials, including Shlomo Benizri, a Shas Party Member of Knesset who served as Israel’s Social Welfare Minister.
Benizri was convicted and imprisoned. Elbaz was convicted, fined and sentenced to 8-months probation. He appealed his sentence and the Supreme Court ruled against him, letting it stand and increasing his fine from 120,000 NIS to 250,000 NIS.
Nonetheless, Elbaz is now a full member of the party’s Council of Torah Sages – a group that numbers less than 10 rabbis and which sets the party’s policies.